Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2019
    fiction    all issues


Cover Antoine Petitteville

Laura Apol
Easter Morning
& other poems

Taylor Dibble
A Masterpiece in Progress
& other poems

Julia Roth
Lessons From My Menstrual Cup
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Ceaseless Wind. The Drying Sheaves
& other poems

Nicole Yackley
Mea Culpa
& other poems

George Longenecker
I’m sentimental for the Paleolithic
& other poems

Taylor Gardner
Short Observations by Angels
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
No Thomas Hardy
& other poems

Joanne Monte
War Casualties
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Potato Harvest
& other poems

Steven Dale Davison
Wordsmouth Harbor Founder
& other poems

Heather 'Byrd' Roberts
How I Named Her
& other poems

sunny ex
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
Through the Valley of Mount Chimaera
& other poems

Linda Speckhals
& other poems

Lucy Griffith
Breathing Room
& other poems

Steven Valentine
& other poems

Emily Varvel
B is for Boys and G is for Guys
& other poems

Jhazalyn Prince
Priceless Body
& other poems

Marte Stuart
Generation Snowflake
& other poems

S.J. Enloe
Kale Soup
& other poems

Meghan Dunsmuir
Our Path
& other poems

Joanne Monte

Nowhere on the Map

We’re driving through

the plains of an untold story,

heading west into a country that is ours

and not ours, into a rural sense

of lost spirit. We pass cautionary signs

authorizing: “USE OF DEADLY FORCE,”

where in the distance, a chain-link fence

marks an underground silo not shown

on the map. We continue to follow

this road, looking ahead into the daylight

glaring back at us and the landscape,

our eyes excavating the bones

of one lone farm. We see the barn

stranded in the middle of nowhere

in the arms of a broken-down fence;

a one-time plow; contaminated well water;

and the old homestead, stripped bare,

and bending down in the dirt.

Every now and then the sun’s rays

will strike like a match; each one

a tiny bomb of flame bursting

in the wind and chill of lost promise;

a desire less visible, but scrolling

on either side of us through the archives

of faded color. We see the relics

of a ruined renaissance,

the machinations of the political

that were never put on record,

a ritual of too many mistakes

concealed in the evolving sorrow

of lost tribes. We are somewhere,

and nowhere in the heart

of sheer memorabilia lingering

on the corner of Main; the church

anointing the sick, the disabled,

the crumbling walls of the courthouse

and jail; and on the other side,

a school, no longer in use, but holding

within its walls the day’s lessons.

The Source of Our Power

Living with the havoc

of every generation:


diffusing a blast of mushroom clouds,

unwanted testing grounds,

for years blitzed and salted with radiation,

the newsprint of the world tossed

on our front lawns, pages ripped out

by the gut, smeared on our hands, our shirts,

                        even our children

as they race through the past

flying airplanes and kites

with the earliest perception of power

                       stored in the genetic code.

Prior scenes had divulged—

as later scenes will—a race

to sharpen the implements of destruction.

In cool, white-washed laboratories,

stainless steel counters hold secrets

steaming in beakers, test tubes, crucibles—

                      these being the solutions

that defy the true source of our power.

War Casualties


When it was reported

in the news that rebels had been killed

in an ambush, and that cargo planes

from the north had bombed

that part of the country not protected

by barbed wire or walls,

two million people had already been lost

in a fire ignited by oil and water.

Many children had to crawl into a thorn forest.

Others were left under the scalding sun

of a war zone. A map of that country

had revealed nothing of its past but borders.

Cities had been founded and lost

where even the thorn bushes lay siege.

Below that wilderness, there exists another,

of dark and pastel greens to be burned

again and again until the day

it surrenders itself to the desert.


It’s been proven—to be proven again

that the clubs of outrage breaking windows,

ribs, the laws of continuity,

shall become the spades of history,

digging the ground to place us there—

and yes, we are still enslaved, chained,

overworked: a deck we stand on,

the rope we reel into the wind

like a clothesline to hang out our memories

of the white shirt our father wore,

ripped open and slashed with his blood,

the torn flesh in the overalls of childhood

that our mother wept over, clung to;

her blue dress whipped on the line with intensity,

still stained with sweat, blood, semen;

the dress in which she pleaded

on her knees; hid our faces in,

telling us to be still,

do not look back, do not . . .


Where it begins, it will end

with the torched house, the slaughtered cattle;

at the well, digesting the raw flesh of the children

in its subterranean gut; at the river

coughing up the mucus of toxic waste,

the garb of ethnic cleansing

scrubbed on its rocks.

It will end

at the cemetery in Dragodan;

in the village of a chosen language,

suffocating from smoke; in the fields

that have orphaned and killed our children—

it will end at the border of the imaginary line

drawn between the state and the shadow-state.

But what country is this

and what will it take?

Guns—(as in any country at war)

It will take guns . . .

Joanne Monte is a poet and novelist. Many of her poems have appeared in highly acclaimed literary journals such as Poet Lore, The Raintown Review, The White Pelican Review and Bayou. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Bordighera Poetry Book Award for her collection of poems, The Blue Light of Dawn. Her novel, The Day to Eternity has been described as a gripping narrative set during the Korean War and has been included in Reader’s Favorites. Much of her writing encompasses social, cultural and human rights issues. In 2005, the American Biographical Institute selected her as one of five hundred notable American women for her literary and humanitarian contributions.

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