Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2014    fiction    all issues


Debbra Palmer
Bake Sale
& other poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss
Far Away, Like a Mirror
& other poems

Michael Fleming
On the Bus
& other poems

Harold Schumacher
Dying To Say It
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert
Georgia’s Advent
& other poems

Sharron Singleton
Sonnet for Small Rip-Rap
& other poems

Bryce Emley
College Beer
& other poems

Harry Bauld
On a Napkin
& other poems

George Mathon
Do You See Me Waving?
& other poems

Mariana Weisler
Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking
& other poems

Michael Kramer
Nighthawks, Kaua’i
& other poems

Jill Murphy
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Kendall Grant
Winter Love Note
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
White Blossoms at Night
& other poems

Tom Freeman
On Foot, Joliet, Illinois
& other poems

George Longenecker
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
The Bitter Daughter
& other poems

Rebecca Irene
& other poems

Savannah Grant
And Not As Shame
& other poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Titian Left No Paper Trail
& other poems

Martin Conte
We’re Not There
& other poems

A. Sgroi
Sore Soles
& other poems

Miguel Coronado
& other poems

Franklin Zawacki
Experience Before Memory
& other poems

Tracy Pitts
& other poems

Rachel A. Girty
& other poems

Ryan Flores
Language Without Lies
& other poems

Margie Curcio
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
Painted Chickens
& other poems

Nicholas Petrone
Running Out of Space
& other poems

Danielle C. Robinson
A Taste of Family Business
& other poems

Meghan Kemp-Gee
A Rhyme Scheme
& other poems

Tania Brown
On Weeknights
& other poems

James Ph. Kotsybar
& other poems

Matthew Scampoli
Paddle Ball
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Not Exactly
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn


Remember July rains, me in the gold poncho

you uncovered,

pale hair stuck to the side of your face.

We ran.

Water dripped down your legs

and the man sweeping the street

dug gold leaves from the grate

covered in that fake rust.

They had dusted the street in soap,

pale imitation of snow.

The remnants rose up,

filled the streets with white foam

that lasted until we touched it—

until it remembered

it was always supposed to be temporary.

Lightning cut,

peeling back the night

as if anyone with a ladder

could step up,

hold the rough edge of a cloud,

step through the bright gap

up past the sky.

And I remembered

we never had finished

that conversation about hell,

when you asked

if burning was just an easy way to disappear

and I said I thought hell was like this:

loving something, perhaps,

the way I love you—

moss on the bottom of a planter in November,

last tomato on the vine.

The World Was Supposed to Be

The world was supposed to be

bigger than this—

my mother’s blue yarn around my neck,

light around my nose,

dark around my mouth,

too thick around the dark skin of veins.

Or maybe I should say

my world was supposed to be

more than rusty yarn around my head,

covering my ears.

The world was supposed to give me white curtains

against a pale green windowsill.

Small fingerprints

smudged on insulated glass.

And light—

light through the window

not one shaft,



Enough light

to fill a room,


to make white carpet warm.

The world was supposed

to give me days like this:

lying on the hood of Shawn’s car,

his fingerprints

and the outline of my hair

in the layer of construction dust.

Tracing trees in the dirt

as if drawing a thing

could make it real,

as if the oil on my skin

could make all this last.

My mother once told me God holds the world in His hands

I asked her if it got heavy.

She leaned over,

sweat a thin,

gleaming line on her back,

plucked a dandelion

from the overgrown patch in our front yard.

She gave it to me, said

it grows and dies right here

a whole life

and you

barely feel it.

It was soft against the skin of my palm.

I pulled a white seed from its head,

watched it float down,

disappear into the grass:

I asked her

what happens if He drops it?

She laughed

then threw my flower

in the compost heap

with its younger lives:

still yellow,

seeds not ready to separate.

When she went inside I saved them,

laid them in my orange wagon,

dragged it behind me,

right wheel squeaking.

I dropped them in my neighbors’ yards,

two blooms each.

I am a good god I said,

as they fell:

stems arching toward the ground.

The petals, heavier,

always touched the earth first.

My stars against a green sky.

My hands were stained

for days.


Kate says,

write about your uncertainty.

Write about the wilderness

as if you are an Israelite in the desert,

as if you are hungry

and your food is monotonous.

I tell her I am writing about

the future of my life in the workforce.

A desk with two broken drawers,

the smear on my window where I killed a fruit fly,

my blue lamp.

But really, I will write about my hands—

the right one, especially.

How they betray me, wrists to fingernails,

when it is cold.

How my wrists ache,

how my ring fingers swell,

turn white, stiff.

How the bones in my right hand crackle

when I make a fist.

How the doctor says, well, it could

be your mother’s arthritis

or your father’s bad joints.

Or circulation, or some kind of bone disease—

but before I panic

just wait

and wear gloves.

She says, you’re young.

(My body was supposed to be certain.)

Probably nothing.

I try not to think

about blood vessels constricting,

bones rubbing together,

all that cushion dissolved.

Old Grief is the Rusty Padlock on My Parents’ Toolshed

it won’t close

but we wedge it around the handle

so everyone passing by will believe

we know something

about security.

Cassandra Sanborn earned her BA in Creative Writing from Purdue University. Though most of the writing she does now is for her job—she is the Grants Coordinator at a nonprofit in Indianapolis, Indiana—she continues to write poetry and fiction in her spare time.

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