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

Charles C. Childers


Under the shade of a barren

apple orchard, little children play

at poverty.

With no shoes, they smear dirt

on their noses and clothes.

All innocence in hillbilly blackface.

They make mock depression dolls

with their lunch left-overs, chuck rocks

at beehives, pummel a copperhead corpse

with fiberglass fence-posts and fish for leaves

in mud puddles with bits of string.

They were sensible enough

to bring these things

from the air-conditioned city.

By the time they return

to the farmhouse, they’re covered

in burs, like coonhound curs,

new clothes all tattered and torn.

Their aged grandma catches them,

and tans their backs with a switch.

The children, tear-choked,

scream incoherently

at the injustice of it all.


It was a generation that crept

along on knee-pads.

These, the picayune people,

preyed upon

the Almighty Dollar,

panhandling in cashmere suits

and charmeuse silk dresses.


My mother’s in the living room,

staining the walls, spraying

them with the sickly sweet yellow

smell of cigarillo smoke,

using calloused hands as an ashtray,

and my father’s out of work.

I can hear him in the bedroom

suppressing sobs,

like smothering puppies,

into a bed-wallowed pillow.

They barely speak between

their gasping, both fighting for air

in their claustrophobic closeness.


Between the incessant barking of the mixed-

pomeranian pup and the cutting clink

of knives on plates, nothing was audible—

a silence intolerable.

Of course, not racist, they kept their traps

shut. But still, she was a stain on the white tablecloth,

which one hides on the underside

or else attacks vigorously with bleach.


It’s dusk, and fireflies dot

the horizon in every direction,

communicating with their own kind

of Morse code. Brief dashes and dots

lighting up the trees, signals intermingling

with the indecipherable effects

of this midsummer evening.

As I fiddle with my notebook, trying

to capture the intricacies

of their language, I realize

its a frequency which has been denied me,

the antenna of my linguistic ear

broken to the complex cries

of their community.

One of theirs lands on my hand

in an act of sheer defiance,

as if to further my frustration

flaunt its semantic prowess,

and began to brandish

a rather aureate display

in order to irritate me.

. . . - - - . . .

I smashed it and felt satisfied,

demonstrating my own form

of intellectual supremacy.

Charles C. Childers is a writer based out of Huntington, WV. Graduating from Marshall University with degree in English (emphasis in literary studies), he aspires to someday get a graduate degree in comparative literature. Interests include: Zen and Taoism, bouts of social drinking, hiking the hillsides of his home state, raising fancy rats, general hell-raising and environmental advocacy.

Dotted Line