My Friend Loraine Asks Will I Go with Her to a Drag Show
Loraine, heart of a star, rainwater-rusted,
walks with strange steps in jumpy rhythms
from the mountains. She once made
a cardboard cutout of a cloud and that cloud’s
sister, sent to me as a postcard.
I pray most nights standing,
worry about the wind when it presses
hard from the south, walk
beneath lightning to gather up chickens.
That night the bourbon tasted like Koolaid.
We drank five each, together a twisted mirror
of becoming better selves.
During the finale, we hiked up our skirts,
cavorted like dervishes.
A rainbow of zinnias swayed the sidewalk,
moonlit, as Loraine and I tittered homeward,
holding fast to one another, spouting new found
revelations of womaness, noting that serious
dancing might be the cure for years of heavy lifting.
She reminds me how a seed case splits,
exposes backbone but also vulnerability.
Shit fire, Loraine says, we should
all throw ourselves like seed.
Hooper Ridge Girl
There was the rain and your knotted hair,
unruly in that mountain wind.
Wild-eyed finches swung on Hollyhock spines,
fat frogs croaked along the banks of Sunday Creek.
We wished for wings at our feet
to carry us over the dark surface,
looked for signs between clouds
and the higher skies.
We cut across our hands,
pressed them together,
nodded as we tapped tight skin.
Me plain as a sip of water.
You more beauty than could be held
in something as soft as a body
willing to shape-shift for a taste
of anywhere but here.
One mistake. A trail of ash.
The way a mind tries and fails
to find a kernel of truth
in the black eye of hopeless.
You lie not far from that scattered ridge,
with the wind and water, where the odor of dirt
and grass and moldering blossoms
plowed you under.
Kari Gunter-Seymour blames her method of writing on the rich Ohio soil, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors, and her upbringing. Twice a pushcart nominee, her chapbook Serving was chosen runner-up in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Annual Chapbook Contest and is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks fall 2017. Her poems can be found in numerous literary journals, including Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, and Stirring. She is the 2017 winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies BlackBerry Peach Performance Poetry Award. She holds a BFA in graphic design, an MA in commercial photography and is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University.