Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2016    fiction    all issues


Cover Joel Filipe

Alexander McCoy
Questions to Ask a Mountain
& other poems

Alexandra Kamerling
& other poems

Debbie Hall
She Walks Into Starbucks Carrying a 2 x 4
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Sheet and Exposed Feet
& other poems

Melissa Cantrell
& other poems

Martin Conte
& other poems

AJ Powell
The Road to Homer
& other poems

Paul W. Child
World Diverted
& other poems

Michael Eaton
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Walking the Earth
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
Like a Bit of Harp and a Far Off Twinkle
& other poems

Sam Hersh
Las Trampas
& other poems

Margo Jodyne Dills
Babies and Young Lovers
& other poems

Nicole Anania
To the Dying Man's Daughter
& other poems

Lisa Zou
Under the Parlor
& other poems

Hazel Kight Witham
Hoofbeat Heartbeat
& other poems

Margaret Dawson
& other poems

James Wolf
An Act of Kindness
& other poems

Jane A. Horvat
& other poems

Bill Newby
& other poems

Jennifer Sclafani
Hindsight Twenty Twenty
& other poems

Writer's Site

Margo Jodyne Dills

Babies and Young Lovers

Babies and young lovers

kiss in much the same way.

Open mouthed


full of love

and willing to

take in everything.

When does the face seal up

to stop the flow?

Why do we become guarded,


We begin life,


and lust

with submission,

rolling onto our backs,

exposing the soft flesh of our bellies.

Then we turn to jade,


a process that involves

little murders

and colored lies.

We die,


underwhelmed, secrets buried;

our goodness tied up in old photos,

winners’ ribbons,

perfume tainted with age.

The Fruits of Life

My skin betrays me in its apathetic rage

While I face my future with a sense of doom

I cannot deny although I detest my age,

I’ll hold beyond arm’s length the sight of tomb;

Though witness conceited youth with heaving sighs

And those I nurtured at now withered breast,

Weary sit with elbows propped on tired thighs;

Watch while autumn sun drops in the west.

Some think and perhaps are right that I am mad

But I think suffer from a simple case of blues;

Cast away all things laced, buttoned and plaid,

Shuffle to meet you in my orthopedic shoes.

Make one thing clear, Ponce de Leon must not fail

To send me drops of elixir in the mail.

Bouts-Rimes constructed as a Shakespearean sonnet, anagrammatically using Frost’s The Silken Tent.

I Am White

I am white.

You are also white.

But you have a palette of colors I do not have.

We all come from Mother Africa but you have precise genes to document your claim. Mine have been washed away over decades, centuries, travels and time.

Danish butter rolls through our veins, you and me, and you have Norwegian, making you more of a Viking than I.

Your skin is the color of honey . . . well made bread . . . fine sand, ground to softness by tides controlled by the moon.

My skin is old now but when I was younger, it was taut and inflexible. Now it gives you something to tease me with.

You were born blue. Your eyes were black like the depths of an underworld cave, and sparkling like an ancient fire. You turned pink within moments of your arrival and later began to take on the tone of an Egyptian Queen.

We are Cherokee, you a little more than I, making you braver, more stealthy and able to lean into the wind.

We are French, English and maybe a wee Irish and German. We are many hues.

In our bones, we have the ability to break chains, sail tall ships, write ghazals of love, wipe tears off the face of defeat, leap in the name of victory, count stars and follow comets.

We are connected, like a fragile feather to a mighty wing.

We are the threads of a tapestry and we are here to protect the colors.

For Mila Simone

I Saw a Friend of Yours Today

I saw a friend of yours today;

He called to me across the way.

He doesn’t know my real name

But I answered just the same.

It wasn’t ’til I walked away

That I thought of what to say.

Isn’t that the way it goes?

When caught up in surprise hellos.

I wonder: what with good intention

If he will think to mention

That he saw your old friend today

And called out across the way.

You’ll know it’s truly me he saw.

He said my name with his usual awe;

The cryptic name that you once used

So you couldn’t be accused

Of knowing what I’m really called

That was simply not allowed.

I could have said to say hello

But then I thought of long ago;

The way in which we said goodbye,

And so it was I could not lie.

Goodwill greetings I could not send

Brought to you innocently by your friend.

Let him say he called my name

And then perhaps he’ll also claim

That I am well and looked good, too

And did not say hello to you.

The Secret Life of
Jasmin García Guadalupe

Halfway down the steps close to the church

behind the mercería

where she bought thread in late afternoon

after she tells papi her stockings need mending,

Jasmin García Guadalupe

spreads her skirt into a fan,

folds it across her behind

first left, then right,

this for a little cushion

keeps her tender skin

from the dusty, cracked cement.

Her lips gather the corner of one small plastic bag

filled with water, nectar, jarabe,

sucks like a baby.

Leans her cheek on warm rough wall

watches buses rumble below,

going places she will never know.

Jasmin García Guadalupe

dreams of a seat

in the window

of the big blue bus . . .

Jesus painted on the back

arms spread wide

oversized palms

with rusty centers.

Jasmin would say

if anyone asked her

that the Bus Jesus says

“Why follow me?”

eyes rolled up to heaven

oily black smoke blowing out his feet.

Lovers steal kisses in shadows;

Señora Diego leans out her window, pulls at her moustache;

niños plucking mangos over a broken fence . . .

juice runs down their chins, between fingers,

laughing, cussing, shoving, “Ánimo!”

Ignacio makes the knees of Jasmin García Guadalupe tremble;

bent weary, he comes up the stairs,

work shirt thrown over shoulder

dangling from wiry hanger

he keeps it spotless ’til he gets to the sizzling café.

Ignacio’s undershirt with soaking armpits

so white the sun lives in it.

He comes to where the girl sits

whose father would like to kill him

and stops to find his breath.

“You are the delicious peach.

I think to sink my teeth into your skin.

I think to lick your seed.”

Ignacio passes,

Jasmin shivers,

church bells clang.

Margo Jodyne Dills is a member of PNWA and Hugo House Seattle. She works as a guest blogger, editor, and travel writer on both sides of the border. She lives in Seattle and travels to her little home in Mexico as time permits. She stays busy working on a getting a novel published, writing poetry, dog-sitting and hanging out with her extraordinary grandchildren. Poetry is her passion.

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