A Decade Ago in the Illinois Twilight
I gave a toast in a rented tent
to you, my oldest friend and your new bride,
both beaming like you had invented marriage,
navigating the dance of maybes
until something incredible happened,
palpable excitement like flint on rock.
I couldn’t have known how that was going to end
but at the time, fireflies and champagne twinkled
as we celebrated your lives,
love, your finding of each other. And even
had I known that, a decade later, we’d be in a bed
counting our mistakes on hands and legs
knotted on each other like yarn,
I would have still given that same toast,
held my glass up and recited a few lines,
wished you every happiness that could have come.
I would have still clinked my glass with yours
hoping the excitement in that tent
would always remain with you, a prayer of protection
after that night was over, like a chrysalis.
Jessica Siobhan Frank is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter (online), Up North Lit, Portage Review, Cliterature, and several other publications. She is the two-time recipient of the John Wood Poetry Prize. She is originally from the Chicago area but currently resides in Louisiana with her children.