Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2022    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2022


Joanne Monte
& other poems

Holly York
Still When I Reach for the Leash
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Catholicism Still Lingers in a Concrete Poem
& other poems

D.T. Christensen
Coded Language
& other poems

Laura Faith
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Winter in Choctaw
& other poems

Natalie LaFrance-Slack
& other poems

Nicole Sellino
iii. moving, an interruption
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
In Memoriam / Day of the Dead
& other poems

Sheri Flowers Anderson
On Being A Widow
& other poems

RJ Gryder
& other poems

William S. Barnes
to hatch
& other poems

Suzannah Van Gelder
& other poems

Sam Bible-Sullivan
The Dying Worker’s Soliloquy
& other poems

Hills Snyder
Eclipse (July 4, 2020)
& other poems

Lauren Fulton
Birth Marks
& other poems

David Sloan
& other poems

Nancy Kangas
Dry Dock Cranes of Brooklyn Navy Yard
& other poems

Noreen Graf
In Attendance
& other poems

Jim Bohen
Nothing Tea
& other poems

Thomas Baranski
Let us name him dread and look forward
& other poems

Suzannah Van Gelder

breaking a thing

in the time between caterpillar

and blooming lepidoptera

there is only goop.

nothing but potential energy

and instinct, all soupy and

stewed together inside a chrysalis.

now, in the times when I cry

standing in front of the

supermarket Hanukkah display,

when nighttime scoops out my

coping mechanisms with a

plastic serving spoon,

I’m reminded of the four square inches

of wood paneling on the garage

that welcomes back a luna moth each year.

Somehow through generations, through the

process of liquifying one’s entire existence,

there’s the promise of wings when the chrysalis breaks.


the mouth wears a neon vacancy sign.     it is less an invitation for occupants, and more a proclamation of self.     sleep is suggested by the incessant buzzing of the neon tubes      but there is no one to occupy the beds.      the body is a place for things to visit,      but never stay.      the groundskeeper is home sick for days at a time.      beds stay unmade          lights stay out      lungs are boarded shut. the missing guests speculate the secrets hidden in the sternum. someone buried the bones beneath the floorboards long ago      and the dust calls      for someone else to unearth them. behind the teeth of heavy curtains      lies the disgusted truthfulness of solitude. sun-faded and crying, the           NO TRESPASSING           sign wishes for someone to disobey it           and break the curse of lonesome.      through the cracks in the skin of the parking lot      the ferns arrive and die.      the melancholy of this place is housed in everything avoided, untouched,      and      forgotten.      a house for anyone but a home for no one      too much charity has made this place decrepit           has left this body empty.                VACANCY      screams the buzzing,      but the body                         chases      away      the      guests.


the receptionist here calls me “girlfriend”

because (I’m guessing) the tits give something away

that the hairy legs and monstrousness couldn’t obscure.

this thought makes my brain convulse,

thrash about and throw the sweaty sheets

off me as I untangle myself from nightmares and diction.

Each morning is a new day for penance, castigation

through repeated dressing and undressing, interactions with

coffee shop clerks, and of course,

the unceasing venture of existing as myself.

I’m ready to return now

to the place of femicide and covered mirrors

and erect a monument there.

Something unmistakably androgyne

shapely and formless, called by every name

and known only by one, representative of

all bodies and absolutely nothing at all. I’m

ready to call out now

to every aura and entity as yet unseen

and aid them in pilgrimage to our Idol.

Laughing and rolling and dancing in

reverence of these bodies, in defiance

of our old names, in celebration of

our survival.

I’m ready to be born again,

now as myself. Authentic human form,

loyal only to love and the principles of

sex, drugs, and rock & roll,

screaming, naked, joyous, disgusting,

whatever, really. I am.

not the magnum opus

The proverbial “they” have ordered us inside.

I think there is more to it.

Nothing conspiratorial,

            no second coming of Christ

            or dumping microchips in the water supply


whispered anxieties over breakfast.

The proverbial “they” say that if

you leave a monkey with a typewriter for long enough,

it’ll write Shakespeare.

I, defective specimen, stare at my typewriter

until it rusts. I could be left alone until

fists become stones

bones become anchors

teeth become leaves.

            Still, I won’t write the next miracle into existence.

The proverbial “they” has kept me confined and called it Eden.

No thanks to them, I say.

What good have they done me? I say.

I, experimental failure, stare at the apples

until the forbidden fruit shrivels away with age.

I could be left alone until

                                    the next paper pandemic

                                    the next coming of “they”

                                    the next birth of a world.

Still, I wouldn’t eat from that tree.

            Still, I won’t write anyone’s scripture.

Suzannah “Su” Van Gelder is a queer, nonbinary poet and artist from upstate New York. Inspired by queer elders, comedy, magick, and the burden of existing, their work is characterized by brutal honesty and humorous cynicism. In 2020, Suzannah was selected as a finalist for the Iowa Review Poetry Award. You can find their poetry in the February 2023 edition of Beyond Queer Words as well as the eighth edition of Reservoir Road Literary Review.

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