Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Peter Rawlings

J. H Yun
& other poems

Colby Hansen
Killing Jar #37
& other poems

Melissa Bond
Freud's Asparagus
& other poems

Jane Schulman
When Krupa Played Those Drums
& other poems

Susan F. Glassmeyer
First Moon of a Blue Moon Month
& other poems

Melissa Tyndall
& other poems

Micah Chatterton
& other poems

Emily Graf
& other poems

Kate Magill
LV Winter, 2015
& other poems

Michael Fleming
Meeting Mrs. Ping
& other poems

Richard Parisio
Brown Creeper
& other poems

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
Circe in Business
& other poems

Laurel Eshelman
& other poems

Barry W. North
Molotov Cocktail of the Deep South
& other poems

Charles C. Childers
& other poems

Ricky Ray
A Way to Work
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Linda Sonia Miller
Full Circle
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Anna's Plague
& other poems

Erin Dorso
In the Kitchen
& other poems

Holly Lyn Walrath
Behind the Glass
& other poems

Jeff Lewis
Charles Ives, A Connecticut Yankee
& other poems

Karen Kraco
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
& other poems

Rafael Miguel Montes
& other poems

Writer's Site

Melissa Bond


And finally, after months of this new baby, the oxygen tubes catching in the door frames, tripping us up at night, the fear like electricity cracking in our bedroom, finally you confess. We’d done a ritual. Purification. Consumption. Medicine. We vomited for hours in the sourdark. Singing. To hitch a ride on. Singing to pull out your demons. And the dreams came like hyperspace, like some loco driving in our heads. You dreamed crazy. Saw yourself in a crazy house, walking in and out of bodies, losing yourself. Like your mama did and probably her mama before her. A bindweed choking your family history. You had always been afraid of that weed, had always hacked at it with your machete, had spent your life running like a dog. It was later that you told me, after you’d returned, after your eyes lost their ghostliness. When he was born, you said, I was afraid that it was me. I was afraid that you’d know that something was sour in me, the water was bad, that I was the one who shifted our boy’s chromosomes. I was the one who made him slow.


Before making my way into the intubated hush

of the Intensive Care Unit,

I pass a hallway of teenagers,

their spines pressed collectively against white walls, dark eyes

pinned to the long stretch of linoleum on which I’m walking.

The boy with a mass of tangled Afro glances

up as I pass, his eyes naked with the kind of vulnerability

that only comes from the wounded—did I know Her—

the girl with the gunshot wound to the head

who, my doctor friend would later tell me

would end her seventeen years on this earth

with bone fragments sprayed into the soft gel

of her brain, the hand forgetting it’s a hand,

the heartbeat flying the caged coup

of the body.

I’m reminded of the time I watched my four-day-old

son stretched out on a warming slab in a Neonatal

Intensive Care Unit. His tiny hand lay palm up

under the lights, curled and red as a bird claw.

Standing there, my breasts sick with milk,

I saw his life counted out in measured beats

and felt each alarm as if it was my own—

my breath shortening with his, my heart slowing

as his dipped and swayed.

I’m amazed at how wounded we are with the sudden awareness

not of our own mortality, but of the ones we love.

Does it hurt?

Yes, it still hurts.

And back then I wanted it to keep hurting

because with each wound I’d feel that he was still alive,

as if I could be his Sisyphus, as if I could hold the suffering

for both of us so he’d take just one more breath,

just one more,

just another.

Mint Leaf for David Foster Wallace

Often there are times when I am staring off

into the skim line of horizon, where the soft peach

of sky folds into the earth’s body,

and I find myself comparing my son

to David Foster Wallace.

I remember reading about Mr. Wallace’s suicide,

about his parents knowing that there was something wrong

with their bright boy, about his starry rise

amongst the intellectual literati

and his depression so debilitating that, like Kafka,

the disease that tormented was life itself.

And I couldn’t help feeling sad that in my love

of Wallace’s brilliant articulations,

and my appreciation for his infinite, witty jests

I too had jumped up to clap my soft hands,

and did not see his overwhelming sadness.

And today, as I watch my two year-old son,

diagnosed with Down Syndrome at just five days old,

I can’t help but wonder at the quality of his intelligence

and what he might have passed

on to Mr. Wallace? Because there are days

when I feel a particular loneliness

and I am tempted to recline into the cynic’s

tattered and yellow-stained armchair to cast dispersions at life’s

false pageantry, and to mutter perhaps, a diatribe or two about the state

of the world.

And on these days, I come home to my son,

who greets me just as he does on every other day,

lifting his small arms into the hallelujah air

and clapping fervently, as if I’d scored yet

another touchdown in our touchdown of days.

And when he crawls forward, stopping briefly

to thumb a mint leaf or to laugh himself to tears,

I bend, grateful for his arms around my neck,

grateful for the reminder that some forms of intelligence break

the world into pieces of beautiful ugliness,

and some do not break the world at all.

Now You See It

My mother cups my uterus

to her mouth and blows.

The uterine balloon she hangs

like a trophy in her bedroom,

nailed to the far wall like an animal


At parties she fills it with wine,

places a nozzle on it and pours.

The guests are enchanted. They tell me

what a good girl I am. How lucky

to have a mother so intimate. I tell

them that my mother loves

tricks, loves the jigsaw puzzle

of my spine, love to pull my heart

from her ear and make it disappear

into her mouth. What a mother, they say.

What a magician.

Soon, she’ll be able to make you

disappear altogether.

Freud’s Asparagus

She tries to sublimate

a hot Sunday at 8 a.m.,

but he pounds at her door,

repressed, Freudian

and hungry.

She cooks him sweet butter eggs

and asparagus

and he looks at her.

“Sometimes an asparagus is just

an asparagus,” she says, placing

the green, feathery tip deep

into her mouth.

She hands him a swollen, red

plum, a fat, hairy peach.

She says, “Eat.”

She says, “Read to me. Tell me of Plato’s

Republic. I want to see a civilization come

from between your lips.”

They practice sword fighting

in the garden. She has better footwork

but his shaft is longer, bright red

and she laughs at him.

He pins her again and again in the garden

with swollen red fruit and thick

leaves and she laughs at him.

He does not know what the woman wants.

She leads him to the bath.

“Here. Play with the toy boat—

the small fringed sails, the wet hull . . .”

He is nearly hysterical when she takes him

(as she knew she would)

and hours later, in the lingering flame of his sleeping body,

she smokes.

Melissa Bond never was a skinny girl, always was a small girl, always had to jump. It started here, with brooding and a Jim Morrison crush, big as a movie. She writes a chapbook called Hush to talk about addiction, the slosh and snuff that nearly rubbed her out. She writes about Freud and drugs and the child that came, fast as a speedball—the one with an extra chromosome. She wins awards. She keeps writing.

Dotted Line