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.

Statue Prayer at Fifteen

Mother, in my world,
virginity is defined
by loss.

Admission: an easy
litmus. As soon as I open
to confession, their touches
turn from want to sister.

But here I am on my knees, still
in this jaded light, your static mouth
jeweled in the cut of votive flame.

What if I believe this
is my way? That for once
I have found the diadem of no
as a kind of salvation, at last

a place where I am heard?
What if I think of your face
smiling in yes? When I whisper
in the thresh of desire, what if I pray
to hold, wait for the one true found?

I cannot bear their eager lips,
their breath heavy at the chapel
of want, the way they try their hands
at the altar of my legs. I soften
to their kisses, yes, the rare
sweetness of their words when
they are without motive.

Someone has painted a heart
on your hand. Someone has
touched you with gold. I tip
my forehead to your cracked hem,
hardened in its line. My knees grow numb
with leaning. I whisper up to you:

Oh Mary. Oh marry. Oh merry.
Is it all a trinity of trickery, a prayer
of persuasion, of false faith?

And still the problem
of this star, crossed
over my body, forever
this burden we call light.

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.


Leave a Reply