IOLANTHE

She was my strangest friend.

She saw the dead on the day they died. They stopped by her house on the way to the Jordan. Sometimes she saw a globe of light emerge from her body—bright like a miniature globe lightning.

God talked to her, joshing in a voice like her own.

I always wondered if she was absolutely sure it was God, and not some other presence. Because the voice was so down-home, so like a mirror to her own. And frequent: God was always talking. He didn’t talk to me nearly as often and not in that manner.

Iolanthe met a man on facebook. He was there; then he vanished and lived inside her phone, though they could not meet. She fell in love. He fell in love, or so he said. They made wedding plans. A millionaire, he dealt in luxury leather goods. He had a little trouble with a major shipment. One day I stopped her from letting some connection of his deposit a large amount of money into her account. I told a little story about money laundries. I warned her not to loan her dear, dear love any money. One sad day I told her that I knew that she had borrowed money where she should not have, and that she had not paid it back when due.

None of this did I enjoy, but she was my friend, someone I loved.

You may imagine what happened next.

As for Iolanthe and me, well, she ghosted me. As if we were teenagers! One moment we were friends; the next, I was standing on the bank of a metaphorical Jordan. I was a ghost down in Hades, unable to speak, wishing Odysseus would bring a bowl of blood and give me a voice.



Marly Youmans

Marly Youmans is the author of fourteen books of poetry and fiction. Her latest poetry collection is The Book of the Red King, following the narrative of a transforming Fool, a mysterious Red King, and the ethereal Precious Wentletrap (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing, 2019.) Her latest novel is Charis in the World of Wonders.


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