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 Turnbull


Give me back my summer. I don’t like orange.

Return my aqua, coral, yellow. Let me squeeze

more lemons into sparkly water and spill

foamy waves and oily grit on baby toes. Let me taste

more tomatoes split into stars—I am not hungry

for the dark dirt of soup. Not yet. Let me sweat.

Give me strong thunder from a green warning sky—

five seconds between flash and clap, and cue

curtains to dance. Give me a new pair of sunglasses

and easy hours to lose them. Let me squint at clouds

and blink, and let it still be summer. Cast haint blue

with torches after midnight. Give me more time.

Give me more light. More life. Grant me bright

noisy nights to prove it: seventeen-year-old alarm

clocks, chanting frogs, neighborly cocktails

laced with sharp pink ice. I’m wary of the wiles

of blankets and easy chairs. Give me back the fireflies.

Let them land and stay.

It’s not enough


It’s not enough—a house with air.

Invite the dirt, and leave it there.

    Emancipate the child’s excess—

    all joyful splotches, every mess

in candy-coated disrepair.

Let tiny palms hold worlds, and tear

apart what they’ve assembled. Rare—

    these sweetest days, without redress.

It’s not enough.

An instant twinkles past, then where

it travels next, we do not dare

    conceive. Inside of our best guess

    we breathe our air, we whisper yes,

for one more footprint on the stair—

It’s not enough.


Authors, it is said, are read,

and writers get paid

(when it’s not pretty).

So, who gets laid?

What can the poets have?

The sound masters

The syntax musicians

The meter-minding

drummers of words?

We raise our hands and

wait to be called on.

Is it always the quiet ones?

I’ll sit with Charlie Watts.

Brains aren’t bones

Here are ways to mend a break:

copy, paste the mistake

and change the rhyme. Everyone:

make past tense present. Convert

liquid to gas. Press the pedal to the floor

if you can reach it. Pull back on the yoke

and fly higher. Crash. Breathe

thin air until it gets dark, unless of course

there’s rain. It can always look like rain.

It might be a good idea to stay broken

for a while longer. Stand in the rain. Watch

for lightning. Wash the wound. Wish.

Brains aren’t bones;

you will heal differently this time.


Afterward, feel gross and regret it like you knew you would. Pretend to get a text from a friend. Pretend you’re in a hurry. Forget your keys when you leave. Go back for your keys.

Afterward, pay with the card that earns miles. Buy a bottle of wine. Order a pizza. Eat half of it and go to bed early. Wake up at midnight, sweating. Turn on the overhead light so you can see to change the sheets. Feel better in three days. Don’t tell anyone for almost four years. Never tell your mom.

Afterward, shake hands with the veteran who played taps. Blow your nose with the napkin you found in your glove box. Think about how you never have tissues when you need them. Decide that keeping ashes on the mantel is creepy. Think about how much water humans are made of. Don’t think about heaven.

Afterward, take him to see your new house. Show him his new room. Show him the attic where he can make forts and build Legos. Try not to think about how sad his dad is. Show him the yard and the lemon tree. Take a walk to the ice cream shop. Know he’s trying to be brave. Watch him for signs.

Afterward, meticulously design all the possible outcomes in your head. Settle on one. Wonder why you’re like this.

Laura Turnbull lives and writes in Berkeley, California where she works in independent school administration. She is deeply grateful for the Sixfold experience and especially for all the kind words and helpful observations from everyone who took time to read and respond. Laura shares some poetry and a blog at She’s also on Instagram, @short_longhand, and she’d love to meet you there, too.

Dotted Line