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.

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 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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