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

Julia Roth

Lessons From My Menstrual Cup

There’s an episode of Friends where Chandler unwittingly attends a one woman show that opens with the actress yelling why don’t you like me? and then chapter one: my first period. Then the laugh track plays, because the boom of this woman’s voice, her Eiffel Tower stance and relentless anatomy are all parts of the punch line. It’s funny because no one wants to listen

to a one woman show

                                       where I clumsily empty

a swollen thimbleful of my DNA into the toilet

& say a little prayer to the silicone tulip

suspended inside me

                                      catching the physicality

of my unmaking & how it shocked me

the first time it unfolded into

my fickle origami of flesh

                                               because I felt

nothing & wanted to laugh there in the shower

thinking isn’t that just like my body

                                                                the most

disputed land of my body

                                              to whisper fuck

you one day you’ll realize all the things

I can hide

                  all the things I can carry

but for now I am trapped within the

discography of the sane

                                           singing the gospel

of the douche down Walgreens’s

armory aisles of

                             Vagisil & more

discreet Summers Eve because I am

a host for smells

                              I can’t control

but am ultimately held accountable for &

times like these I can’t help

thinking about when

                                      I overheard a man

say to his friend she must’ve been drinking

beer because her

                               pussy tasted sour & we

meaning my sisterhood of ancestors

have been here constantly

emptying ourselves or preparing to

empty ourselves

                              trying to explain

to you what it’s like to watch

what you are made of slither

down the drain

                             like oil &

know you have lived

another unrewindable

month with so much

& so little

control over what’s

                  inside you

The Last Scraps of Cape Town

I went to a winery with the best bathroom in the world. Opposite the toilet, an entire wall of glass framed a hill quilted with autumn-honeyed grapevines. So quiet I held my breath while I peed.

I needed a gate code and three skeleton keys to unlock my apartment. To sleep I needed two blankets, a fleece jacket, a hat. I bought electricity at the grocery store to feed my apartment’s hungry circuits. I shut myself in an armoire once when I felt alone.

I watched a bunch of poached eggs float around and around like jellyfish before being scooped onto a bed of hash browns and smoked salmon for a couple bucks a plate.

The neighborhood bars looked like vigils with so many lit candles. When the power went out, conversations flickered and chins tilted up. Placing bets on the length of darkness. A friend leaned across the table to listen and her hair caught fire. I am embarrassed, now, to remember this when I forget so much else.

I skipped work because there was no hot water to shower. I wasn’t unclean, I was just afraid of the train and the cold and meaninglessness.

I was afraid of the train held together with stickers screaming HEALER DEON: MONEY IN ACCOUNT, BRING BACK LOST LOVER, PENIS ENLARGEMENT and DR. GRACE SAFE ABORTION.

There was one of those bright red tour buses where you could hear them talking over a loudspeaker from the sidewalk. You could buy tickets to ride it around a Real Live Township and gawk at the scrap metal houses and the people who live inside them. Not a secret or anything.

I went to a market/an aquarium/a café. I climbed a mountain with a lake/a cave/a cloud right on top. It almost seemed like I could understand a place from above. Something about planting flags/ownership/altitude deluding you. It was such that, for a moment, I thought I deserved understanding.

Rick Deckard Fucks Rachael the Replicant

It begins with Rachael trying to run

             Rick chasing

                          slamming the door

                                       shut with a closed fist

                                       locked arm

                                       shoving Rachael back

                          into the apartment

             clattering her against

the film noir blinds

In the script this is all reduced to

[a little rough-housin’]

Dick is kind enough

to give Rachael instructions: say kiss me

After all—she’s a programmable thing

And I’ll never know the end of the sentence

she begins with I can’t rely on . . .

because Dick cuts her off, demanding she say it,

                                                          say kiss me

with him coding her desire, she complies, says

                                                    kiss me

but he’s unconvinced, needs her

to say more, say             I want you

And maybe she thinks she does

             or maybe Dick is a convincing teleprompter

or maybe she’s programmed with an alternate

             definition of want, but either way she repeats

                          I want you

And he commands—


And I know how she feels when she recites,

from some distant index of sexuality,

             I want you. Put your hands on me,

playing repeat after me instead of breaking

the arm that’s slamming the door shut.

Julia Roth was raised in suburban Massachusetts, attended college at the University of Central Florida, and continued her zig-zag across the United States when she began the MFA program at Western Michigan University. Her most recent accomplishment is learning to ride a bicycle. She currently resides in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which truly exists.

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