Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2021    fiction    all issues


Andrej Lišakov

Laura Apol
I Take a Realtor through the House
& other poems

Rebekah Wolman
How I Want my Body Taken
& other poems

Devon Bohm
The Word
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Right Kind of Woman
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Gravestone Flowers
& other poems

Laura Turnbull
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier
A Fistful of Ennui
& other poems

Peter Kent
Reflections on the Late Nuclear Attack on Boston
& other poems

Carol Barrett
Canal Poem #8: Hides
& other poems

Alix Lowenthal
Abortion Clinic Waiting Room
& other poems

Latrise P. Johnson
From My Women
& other poems

Brenna Robinson
& other poems

may panaguiton
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell
The Life That Scattered
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Two Stairways
& other poems

Richard Baldo
A Note to Prepare You
& other poems

Blake Foster
Aubade from the Coast
& other poems

Bernard Horn
& other poems

Harald Edwin Pfeffer
Still stiff with morning cold
& other poems

Nia Feren
Neon Orange Tree Trunks
& other poems

Everett Roberts
A Mourning Performance
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
The Way I Wander
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
the iron maiden and other adornments
& other poems

Writer's Site

Laura Apol

Photo of my Mother
at Eighteen, Seated

I want to lean into the woman

in the white Adirondack

as boldly as she leans back, dark lipstick

and pincurls, sleeveless pale blouse,

slim arms wrapping her own waist—

and her smile. That irrepressible smile.

She is Fourth of July fireworks,

sunflower turned toward the sun,

and I am somewhere deep within her,

swaddled in a future so far off

she can barely dream it. She is

so goddamned happy, and so young.

How long before her beautiful cells

will begin undoing themselves,

myelin dissevering, nerves ruined and raw?

When is the outset, the unseen scarring

before the scars? There will be decades

between this Adirondack

and the electric-powered chair—

years when she’ll roll down

her socks, roll up the waist of her skirt,

make the world hers, until one day

she no longer feels pain

and the sole clue to too hot or too close or

too much is the smell of her own flesh,

scorched. Those glorious arms.

I want to lean into this stranger

in the white Adirondack,

head-thrown-back laughing—

so goddamned happy. So young.

I Take a Realtor Through the House I’ve Lived in for Twenty Years

Once again I was there and once again I was leaving

and again it seemed as though nothing had changed

even while it was all changing

—W.S. Merwin

Windows that wouldn’t open, a door

that wouldn’t close;   the worn-carpet

room of my son, cobalt

room of my daughter,       flowered-over grave

of the backyard dog. Sump pump,

shingles, emergency contact and every shadow

a ghost. Up these stairs I was young, filled

with tomorrows as I took

lovers           and lit candles;    sang

with my children                 and prayed

for my children,

and wept and bled each month

and it is all past. The laundry off the line.

Pears rotting beneath the tree. Fireflies

and maple leaves, lost cat’s print in concrete

like the stories I read aloud

to my daughter before bed, my son

at the piano, Rachmaninov

in his sleep.         New stove, used fridge,

all the dishes I washed, lunches I packed;

push mower, extension ladder, gutters cleaned

spring and fall. Wisteria and weeping

cherry,        heights

penciled                on the painted

frame of the door, painted over.

And now? Siding and ceiling fans,

hard-wood floors and fencing;

trees           that fell

        —as nothing, as everything,


Laura Apol is a professor at Michigan State University and the author of five full-length collections, most recently, A Fine Yellow Dust. She is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award and silver-medal winner of the Independent Publishers Book Award, and from 2019-2021, she served as the poet laureate of the Lansing area in mid-Michigan. Her current work focuses on the therapeutic uses of writing and literature in response to trauma.

Dotted Line