This selection, chosen by guest editor Samantha Duncan, is from Slide to Unlock by Julie E. Bloemeke, released by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020.
Switching Off at Cedar Point
Years later, after hearing of your divorce, her infidelity, I remember another time: The four of us—my husband, your wife—would switch children, hip-jiggle babies so the other could ride, so we all could take a turn to throw our hands to sky and scream legitimately all the way down. We did this over and over laughing ourselves to younger, such pink spun release. And well after dark, just before closing, in the shuffle of strollers and lines, you and I are alone on a crowded shuttle. Without a word, you rest your heavy head in my lap, face away. And whether from exhaustion or want I allow myself one last pleasure: to run my fingers through the thick question of your hair. You slide one arm beneath my knees, the other over the top, press back to me, as if to keep from falling. Or screaming. And when we stopped, they were waiting: the man, the woman, the sticky sleeping children, all the beautiful ones we’d once said yes to.
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 Chronicle, Prairie 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.