Electric bass guitar riffs, magnified
times ten, subwoofers mounted to metal signposts,
Paul Rodgers’ moany lyrics thrust every direction,
his voice alone enough to slick the thighs
of every female high schooler, standing
sweat soaked, in line—senior trip,
Kings Island 1979, headbanging, hips wanging
side-to-side, arms thrown wide, waiting
to ride The Beast—tallest, fastest, longest wood
roller coaster in the world, the boys spurting
predictable agonies and pheromones.
Wasn’t long before Emily Bond and Jeff Davis
were all over each other, tongues tangling.
I pretended not to see him slip a hand inside
her shorts, ignored the way her head flew back.
I won’t say whether I let one of those rowdy boys
do the five-finger shop and cop underneath
my tank top during the long bus ride home.
But it was frigging hot that day, I’ll give you that.
is the Poet Laureate of Ohio. Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (Ohio University Swallow Press, 2022); A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2020), winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award; and the chapbook Serving (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2018). Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, Cultural Daily, World Literature Today, The New York Times, and Poets.org. A ninth-generation Appalachian, she is the editor of I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, funded by the Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Women of Appalachia Project’s anthology series, Women Speak.
Gunter-Seymour is a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University; the founder, curator, and host of Spoken & Heard, a seasonal performance series featuring poets, writers, and musicians from across the country; an artist in residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts; and a 2022 Pillar of Prosperity Fellow for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.