Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2017    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 2017 issue


Cover Thought-Forms

Laura Apol
On My Fiftieth Birthday I Return
& other poems

Jihyun Yun
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Red Jetta
& other poems

Sarah Blanchard
Carolina Clay
& other poems

lauren a. boisvert
Save a Seat for Me in the Void
& other poems

Faith Shearin
A Pirate at Midlife
& other poems

Helen Yeoman-Shaw
Calling Long Distance
& other poems

Sarah B. Sullivan
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Metro Messenger
& other poems

Gabriel Spera
& other poems

Zoë Harrison
Pattee Creek
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
The Man Who Got off the Train Between Madrid and Valencia
& other poems

Marcie McGuire
Still Birth
& other poems

Kim Drew Wright
Elephants Standing
& other poems

Michael Jenkins
The Garden Next Door
& other poems

Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
& other poems

Doni Faber
Man Moth
& other poems

M. Underwood
In Other Words
& other poems

Carson Pynes
Diet Coke
& other poems

Bucky Ignatius
Something Old, . . .
& other poems

Violet Mitchell
Deleting Emails the Week After Kevin Died
& other poems

Sam Collier
Nocturne in an Empty Sea
& other poems

Meryl Natchez
Equivocal Activist
& other poems

William Godbey
A Corn Field in Los Angeles
& other poems

Don Hogle
Austin Wallson Confesses
& other poems

Writer's Site

Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman

Black Summers

RIP, Kathlean Hamilton, Jan. 26, 1924 – Jan. 16, 2018

Faces pressed

against thick thighs,

hands held high

and mouths agape

to wait

for thick slabs of jowl bacon,

salty rice

and fried eggs.

Lines of chili peppers

hang on the wall;

peaches pop

into hot waiting mouths.

Strings of beans

running around Grandma’s garden;

we dig for red and white sweet potatoes

like we’re diggin’ for gold.

Summer is

my memory of you

standing at a stove

held closed by a stick

and an old leather belt,

lit by matches

and burnt fingers.

Nicholson Hill

Deep, deep

in the forest of Mississippi

where the real Mississippi lives

is a cemetery,

its lines erased by trees

and blackness,

filled with decaying bones

and teeth

and sinew.

A girl walks by,

seventeen and almost married,

dirt poor and no shoes.

She comes to the plantation

where her ancestors

lived and died and never left.

She digs through the earth with her hands

and plucks out eyes—

Brown, sharp eyes—

a curved nose with wide nostrils,

straight, white teeth,

black, black hair with a hint of injun,

a backbone threaded with steel, strengthened by the lash

and calloused feet that would never go bare.

She eats the red, graveyard dirt

drenched in our blood.

She chews and swallows

then licks her teeth.

With her hands, she forms this child in her womb

so she can take her family with her.

She is the first to leave this plantation,

the only home they’ve known since—

She stands up and carries

a child with a chance to survive.

Chalk Lines

Let us draw ourselves

outside the lines that limit us,

outside the chalk lines

that display us

laid out on the pavement

shot down by the truth

that our lives don’t matter.

Old Gods

We rolled over our gods,

first with wagons

and scythes to the grain.

Then we dug into the earth

for black gold

and coughed up black smoke.

We threw garbage into river mouths

choked their air

and clogged their veins of clay.


My culture is not a coat

or a hat

that you can try on.

It is not a tan that fades over time.

It is not a fun new eyeshadow.

It is not a phase

or a tool for rebellion.

It is blood

and bone,

chains on my wrists

and a rope around my neck.

It is ritualistic dances

and worship of our mothers.

It is everything

and nothing to you.

Dotted Line