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  • Seventeen, and: Glass City
  • Julie E. Bloemeke (bio)


But then there was the boywho shared communion with me,held my hands in prayer,who kissed me as I told him—virgin—and responded:

Why do we thinkthere's only one way?

And in this he let love. I broke,lit myself to him, at last seen whole,my body no longer divided into bases.

And tonight, over the water,the moon piercing the prowlike an answered question,we spread ourselves naked,face the stars. He traces my body

with his hands, as if to createme, takes joy in seeing the lightempty over me, our want withoutend. He says: receive, just receive

and I think of the cup, sharedas he passes his shaking fingertipsover the delve between my hipsas he meets them with his lips, [End Page 75]

as his face sets betweenmy legs. I open the wings

of my knees for him, he dividesme with his tongue. His firsttaste and mine, here under the cloudsthat unseam their needles of darkness.

In this first, I want another, for himto receive me as I come, for my firsttandem open to be for his mouth,because of his mouth, to echofrom my body and into his,

so when he misses this, us, the newnessof it all, he can remember his namecalled from the pleasure of my throat,he can remember yes and God.

Glass City

after Toledo, Ohio

To assemble a land,polish it to sea.

The escape of alteredthings. The branches

that follow. Weavea terrain, parison

in clumsy hands. Learnto write from refraction. [End Page 76]

Add windows, fragilein their divided ways.

Don't miss that they corner,prefer the word pane.

Take the beaker of trees,the liquid of what loves.

Imagine ponds of glass:an electric so fragile

it breaks to the touch.Don't assume

the name, proclaimit holy. This is the city

where bones anneal,where letters glow sand

cells into the body.Under this rock, another.

Beneath this cobalt, a wing.Here everything is molten,

kissed, meant to be spun,the shape of it blown

into being. See how we chasememory, distortion,

even as it shatters in our hands?Look: when I hold it all [End Page 77]

the sun burns every reflection,fires it back to new.

Is it any wonder thenI will call on the I, the you,

our past, this city,word them into glass too? [End Page 78]

Julie E. Bloemeke

Julie E. Bloemeke is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars and a 2017 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Crab Orchard Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Poet Lore, Four Chambers, Palooka, and Bridge Eight among others. Her work has also been featured on Verse Daily and has been published in various anthologies, including Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, the Southern Poetry Anthology Volume V: Georgia, My Cruel Invention, the Great Gatsby Anthology and others. She is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer in Atlanta. Visit



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