This yearning scours my bones,
the swift friction of loss, the yellow
light roiling through each cell,
tourniquet to all I run from. Because
at this prick, a pin through the black
page to insist on a heaven, I am bitter
consolation, hung rainsoaked out to dry.
At the corner there is a match,
claiming sulphur, rooting through
the cellar of betrayal, and then:
feigned projection of assurance,
my own two knees clacking in song.
Oh plot, do I keep you, noun everlasting,
no verb to suggest your heavy head?
I want only the delicate feet of a wren
to stop me: weathervane rusted
into the future, your bold blue eyes
rising over the hills, making this land
that I believe, the rivers begging
for swim, the rocks to sun on, millions
lined like lost letters, the times you longed
for me but could not say. Look, I am a fish
in this river, I am the glint of a silver fly,
tied by your hand. Look, we are lying,
now as sand, spread over the rock,
our numbers released, our dials broken,
taking the scar of this day and mending
it with the cool promise you place at my neck.
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’s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Mason’s Road, Pebble Lake Review, as well as anthologies such as The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia and A Sense of the Midlands. Her poetry and photography series on abandoned buildings was also recently featured in Deep South Magazine. She has served as a guest blogger for Best American Poetry and was a 2012 and 2014 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). She is currently working on her first book of poetry.