It Was My Idea
by Vicki Mandell-King

Though well-meaning, your words
probe at just-closed wounds.
Or at least this is how I take them.

A contemplation, you explain.
Try your own navel, I retort.

Habits, like a nun’s garb,
we cannot seem to shed.

So we caw like crows,
hunched and black-feathered,
perched on a tense wire.

I venture, Perhaps we should let this go.

After all, long friendships like ours
can fade like blue jeans, and people
outgrow each other like houseplants
their decorative pots.

Since, I am reminded of you often –

the Juno capsule, well-named,
on its way to the red-eyed planet –
all the launches we once cheered.

An island comes unhinged
from the European continent,
as if geologic plates had shifted.
You and your rocks.

And from the spread of wildfire,
birds can’t fly with singed wings.

So, I hold out a branch
you do not take. Not, I think,
in hurt or rancor, but that
my words rang too true –

like that bronze bell on our retreats,
chiming us home.

I have to smile, really.

You learned how to do this –
running from your house aflame
and toppling as if made of sticks,
not stones. I was not wrong

to name this, call for a break.
Necessary as resetting a bone
healed awry. And so

I thought this could be
temporary, and forgot that

–right or wrong,
my idea or yours,
for awhile or forever –

I still have to grieve.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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