Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2019
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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

Linda Speckhals

Death Wears a Speedo

His bones chatter when his body trembles a laugh

you’re too bony for a red speedo

she said as if

he hadn’t heard that one before

Sometimes, he tells her,

But sometimes even this

Speedo can’t protect me

And he clutches his scythe because

even though he’s shed his black robe, he may

still have a job to do, even on the beach on

a hot summer day

especially on the beach on a hot summer day

Sometimes, he says,

I just want to feel the sun

warming my bones

Are you the type,

he asks,

who never imagines

what it would be like

if you weren’t scissored into shape

by those who look up

and assume the perfect sky

has no clouds

The type

who never dreams of glitter wings and

floating like a flower

on the spring breeze

afraid of being more bird than human

though your blood would still vibrate in music and you would still love the sounds of thinking and the feeling of skin on skin

To be so much more, like Death in a speedo, lying on the beach, unafraid of the stares, soaking in the sun

and listening to the




of the ocean

as it pulses through the veins of the world


She traced a line in the summer sand,

Asked a stranger to dare her

To step over

As if that would disappear it.

His feet followed his gaze away and

Silent across the sand

Leaving her to watch the tide

smooth the sand and remind her again and again and again

That sometimes wishes don’t materialize

And sometimes the string of someone else’s balloon binds

Her wrists together

And sometimes she knows that the only thing she can do

Is to hide the ocean in her memory

And return to the road.

She drove towards home

But when the exit came

She went straight

Past the sign that said

Welcome to Pennsylvania

And the words “if not now,


Echoed in the empty car.

She accelerated

And imagined the rush of gas was like the rush of her own blood or

the rush of mere expectation that crossing this border

would be crossing to a new life

She closed her eyes

Felt the rush of disappointment

Just like when she kissed her best friend,

Felt his scruff exfoliate her chin.

Crossing that border too

Left her disappointed

Like a blue balloon


In the branches

Of an old pine tree

Blue like the sky: A Pantoum

Blue like the sky

As I feel the caress of clouds

I long to swim in the air

And feel the sun on my face

As I feel the caress of clouds

Until the rainstorm passes

And I feel the sun on my face

From your gentle smile

Until the rainstorm passes

And the curtain clouds part

From your gentle smile

And the sky shifts to night

The curtain clouds part

While I sleep under the stars

And the sky shifts to night

I let the waves wash over me

While I sleep under the stars

Blanketed by your warmth

The waves wash over me

I long to swim in the air

Blanketed by your warmth

The waves wash over me

I long to swim in the air

Blue like the sky

Around 3

He deserts his children each day around 3

Leaving them in midswing on the tire

That hangs from the ancient tree in the backyard

Or while they sip tea with pinkies extended

Like the adults they want to be

Or while they play tug of war with the crayons

They need to create their art

Or while they are giggling or imagining or telling stories.

He is a gliding centipede,

Passing over the toys and debris of family life

He drifts out of time

And away from now

And into that 3 o’clock moment.

One day, maybe

His children will look into his eyes

As the hand of the clock ticks into its place,

Hugging the 3

They will see that he’s not there.

For Linda Speckhals, poetry is truly an act of rebellion. When she was young, her father told her she could be anything she wanted to be. Except a poet. She recently released a poetry collection, Pas de Deux, a collection of poems that tell a story of love and loss. It is available on Amazon.

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