Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2020    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 20


French silk sample book

Paula Reed Nancarrow
Morning Coffee
& other poems

Jill Burkey
& other poems

Oak Morse
Boys Born out of Blues
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Engine Ode
& other poems

Monique Jonath
a mi sheberach
& other poems

Lisa Rachel Apple
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Human Condition
& other poems

Kirsten Hippe-Rychlik
and we are echoes
& other poems

Devon Bohm
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
I Rest My Mother Tongue
& other poems

John Delaney
Poem as Map
& other poems

Elizabeth Bayou-Grace
Fire in Paradise
& other poems

In Utero
& other poems

Michelle Lerner
Ode to Exhaustion
& other poems

William French
I Have Never Been
& other poems

Josiah Patterson Wheatley
Coeur de Fleurs
& other poems

Karo Ska
womb song
& other poems

Robyn Joy
& other poems

Han Raschka
Love Language
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
The Memory in My Pinky
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
Europe, too, Came from Somewhere Else
& other poems

Scott Ruescher
At the Childhood Home of Ozzy Osbourne
& other poems

Emily R. Daniel
Visitation Dreams
& other poems

Lindsay Gioffre
Toxicodendron Radicans [Sonnet 1]
& other poems

Writer's Site

Gilaine Fiezmont

Europe, too, Came from Somewhere Else—To America

I. Zeus, What Have You Wrought?

Columbus says he’s ours.

You’ve got to go back

to that first push,

                                   he says,

I’m not responsible!

he says


committed the first crime.

Cortez swears he’s

                                   not the one.

His soul weighs heavy

on our son’s mind.

What to do?

How to judge?

Not the one set


                                               in motion.

Custer died doing

what he had to do,

clear a path for

                            manifest destiny,

your project,


            this land

always thrives on blood




            to you.

Rita Hayworth says

she’s not responsible,

had her Indio teeth knocked


her Indio hair bleached


her image projected

onto our orphaned princess,

made fertile for our

                                   utopian dreams.

Don’t walk away now:

We spawned them all and I,

Am I responsible

                                    for your theft?

And perhaps it’s true

what they say

about the children of rape,

perhaps the violence of our children

spilled out from that first


between us,

in those first times

                                    with continents

young enough to be named,

an island to run to,

a new world to be made.

II. Between Homes

You sit facing me

and as we fall


into English,

                        and very good English at that,

the others in the cafe know

You’re not Mexican!

In spite of your dark skin.

You told your father

Your friends told their fathers:

            “I am Indio”

Your fathers are proud of their Spanish blood.

With Bodas de Sangre so full of handsome Spaniards,

I try to think of what Spain has given you


devoted mothers and hushed whispers

as your sisters discuss

the cute little bastards

they see on the down low.

Ana-Maria speaks up in the back of my head:

            “We’re all the bastards of the Spanish,

            all of us with Spanish surnames.”

She tried to think of Indio surnames.

“I am Indio!”

Your skin peels today, but it doesn’t hurt.

Only Spanish skin burns.

And I remember Indian women silently serving their men

and I wonder how my taste for handsome Spaniards

is culturally determined.

They fought for seven hundred years

before they came over

started your fight

for a name,

your women dyeing their hair the color of maize.

In Spain the Revolution

killed her newlyweds, and the dead

were left to bury their dead.

When Marti failed here,

Spain’s bastards


on each other leaving

your Indio grandparents

burying their woven language.

You speak only Spanish,

and of course English,

like every Pocho hustling

Chicano pride in Mexican streets.

It’s your turn Herbert:

      Go to Spain

      Tell her:

      I am your bastard.

      Now is the time for Spain

                                                to listen

      to her bastards.

You are Indio but do not throw away

that part of you which needs you most.

III. Guanajuato

Have I made you my tour guide?

You’re new to the city

yourself wandering through the streets.

A picturesque maze,

one cannot get lost,

the city’s too small.

This is the time of mixed messages,

the article I read

asks feminists to

                              draw the line.

Here, together, we

sip coffee and dissolving

lines begin to touch

as we become

better acquainted.

Children look up

stop playing long enough to guide you.

Their grandparents turn

to tell us you’re

on the wrong track.

My handsome guide,

towards the evening, tired,

legs hurting,

we sit down, discuss

your future, mine and


the present.

We speak of sisters,

yours, the nineteen kids

your mother bore like a good Catholic.

She still takes the girls

to Mass, and you tell me,

it’s their business.

Standing in the torch

of the Pipilo we find

the time of mixed messages.

You say we should go dancing, it’s

good for the soul, a little

harmless fun before Sunday.

We look down into the city

as we walk

                    to the sky,

booby-trapped sentences

tearing at the fabric

of smiling tourist interest.

I should not lose you in this maze.

And yet I want you

to taste some of my life

in this world so familiarly yours.

IV. B.C.—D.F.—Visiting Friends in Mexico City

You come for the late-comer,

punctually whisk me away

into a city in the midst

of daily re-definition and

joke about the Plague

God decided to hand your land.

Her People.

They say the world grew jealous

of Mexico, God

had to even out the score,

and he’s working at it, still,

my train was late,

my glasses got stolen,

your car was robbed last month.

We chat in French,

the day after you tell me

your English sister-in-law

doesn’t know what she’s talking about,

complaining daily about her

underdeveloped life, saying

you’re partial.

Your sister-in-law may not believe

in God, but she agrees with him:

Everything would be perfect in Mexico

without Mexicans, there’d be a plan for

the traffic,



enough, perhaps, for another green Jerusalem.

To me you explain: “Oui, c’est vrai,

je me vois Mexicaine!” So we compare

beauty, culture, your proud past,

I tell you about Indios and you

glance at your maid

pouring dark coffee into our cups,

ask: “Tu trouve ça beau?”

A child still I heard

about the perfection of Moussolini’s

trains, how for once,

they ran on time,

no thieves snatching purses

from unlucky tourists, how

there was order

alongside the terror.

Here I suppose you got a raw deal:

Your car disappeared

with the same ease

as the ninety-thousand Americans

that stood in the way

of a safe America.

And picking your way through

the various factions of the North,

you can only fall back on yourselves,

a people cursed to soothe

our jealous world.

V. One month after arrival—To Zeus


I was five years old when we reached Crete.

Our island paradise had no electricity.

In the center

of the petrol lamp

a flame rose each night,

fragile, hot,

sometimes it would break the glass.

One month after arriving

I could almost make my way

to the center of town.

It’s easy, really,

to sleep at different times

Everything is so tiring.

Every day, spring showers

hone the roads, marigolds

brush against the mud

It is a green country

in October.

In April the meadows came alive.

From your cave, from

snow-glazed mountains

giving birth to a sea of poppies

you’d come to distend

the wool that kept me warm

Replace it with your hands

your breath a white cloud

hanging over the White Mountains

south of Chania.

A strange fall

lures me into a sandy grove

the heat is thick

with papayas hanging

like green pumpkins

from patches in the sky.


waves splash my legs

drag rives of mud beneath my feet

enclose my body as I float

out to sea.

Once you know the point

at which a wave breaks,

you dive for its center

feel its power graze your feet.

Two months after arriving

fevered memories mix

little differences the houses all

remind me of each other

black grids grip glass

my aching feet cool the red tiles

                                                      climb the wall I

press my head against

the white stucco crossed

by a thousand fissures

skein catching me as I fall


Warmed by desert winds

the island yields its

fruit, my lover’s eyes

gaze over the shape

of the future judge,

and drying, Crete

begins to sing.

I don’t know

where these crickets hide

they fill each

night with memories I

cannot tell

which will be more important

cannot judge yet,

One month later,

when the mangoes in the garden


They get stolen,

like the peaches

barely yielding to our mouths

ripped from the trees

I found one half-eaten

in the piles of rotting leaves,

Green and foreign like all

this land, this city touching,

encircling me.

You have filled

my life with new doubt.

This new love

the fates offer me

his green tongue

opening my lips,

unravels my desire.

Tropical light splashes


the window sill, summer thunder


            my new chapter, and

I am reminded

I have come here

too much a stranger

to take my old place.

                                    I slide

my fingers through

dried petals of familiar jasmine,

wonder about its journey

from Asia

                        to Europe

                                                to America,

And step into my new world.

Teacher, researcher, writer, reader of international literature and poems from many lands, Gilaine Fiezmont started writing on a dare when she was twelve. Born in Switzerland, her first immigration experience brought her to Los Angeles, California, in 1976. After college, she spent a gap year in Mexico, a second immigration experience that crystallized in her five-part poem “Europe, Too, Came from Somewhere Else”. Since returning to study linguistics, she has stayed in the City of Angels.

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