The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Slide to Unlock by Julie E. Bloemeke

This selection, chosen by guest editor Samantha Duncan, is from Slide to Unlock by Julie E. Bloemeke, released by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020.

Glass City

               returning to Toledo, seventeen years later

To assemble a land,
polish it to sea.

The escape of altered
things. The branches

that follow. Weave
a terrain, parison

in clumsy hands. Learn
to write from refraction.

Add windows, fragile
in their divided ways.

Don’t miss that they corner,
prefer the word pane.

Take the beaker of trees,
the liquid of what loves.

Imagine ponds of glass:
an electric so fragile

it breaks to the touch.
Don’t assume

the name, proclaim
it holy. This is the city

where bones anneal,
where letters glow sand

cells into the body.
Under this rock, another.

Beneath this cobalt, a wing.
Here everything is molten,

kissed, meant to be spun,
the shape of it blown

into being. See how we chase
memory, distortion,

even as it shatters in our hands?
Look: when I hold it all

the sun burns every reflection,
fires it back to new.

Is it any wonder then
I will call on the I, the you,

our past, this city,
word them into glass too?

Julie E. Bloemeke (she/her) is the 2021 Georgia Author of the Year Finalist for Poetry.  Her debut full-length collection Slide to Unlock was chosen as a 2021 Book All Georgians Should Read. Co-editor of Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023), she has also served as co-editor for the Dolly Parton tribute issue of Limp Wrist magazine. Winner of the 2022 Third Coast Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2020 Fischer Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including Writer’s ChroniclePrairie Schooner, Nimrod, and others.  An associate editor for South Carolina Review and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow, she is also a freelance writer and editor.  A proud native of Toledo, she currently lives in Atlanta.

Samantha Duncan is the author of four poetry chapbooks, including Playing One on TV (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2018) and The Birth Creatures (Agape Editions, 2016), and her work has appeared in BOAAT, SWWIM, Meridian, and The Pinch. She lives in Houston.

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