This selection, chosen by guest editor Samantha Duncan, is from Slide to Unlock by Julie E. Bloemeke, released by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020.
It’s All Real Within the Dream
This is not monumental. We are sitting next to each other on the couch. Through the window there is a sun. I am looking at your faded knee, denim fibers worn to fine over your most bendable places. We are holding hands. Everywhere, somewhere, people are holding hands. Even now in the poem, even as you read this, even when you find these forgotten words a lifetime later, we are holding hands. This is not remarkable. Forget that you live on one side of the world and I the other. Forget that it has been seventeen years since I have seen you. This is ordinary, your hand in mine, me feeling a small pulse from your wrist. We are sitting on a couch. Together. There is the sun. This is not extraordinary. We are looking to each other. I don’t have to find you across wires, photos, pixelated text. There is the air of you. There is the air of me. There is our air, together. We breathe. You, tangible in my senses. Me, tangible in yours. This is just a Tuesday. This is not remarkable. You say: When I look back over my life I will count this as one of my happiest moments. Everywhere people are holding hands. Everywhere there is a sun, even when we turn from it. See? We are still holding hands. You have said those words to me. Still we are sitting on the couch. You are wearing jeans. There is us. There were seventeen years. We feel our hands together. We cannot stop looking. Everything is unremarkable. Somewhere everyone is holding hands. The sun wants to slip, to remind us. At last we can touch each other. Don’t wake me if it isn’t true.
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.
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