The other night a friend and I were talking about music, specifically the 90s music that shaped our teenage years. We laughed as we scrolled through songs, jumping from one to the next, singing out loud and reminiscing about how the songs had shaped us. Then he asked if I liked acapella music. I confirmed that I did and he pulled up this song on his phone:

This might be the most gorgeous version of this song I’ve ever heard.

I love Dolly Parton. I think she’s a beautiful person with a beautiful voice and a heart that’s bigger than her boobs. And I mean that as a compliment.

When the song finished I turned to my friend and said, “I wrote a poem that quotes that song.” He laughed and said, “Of course you did.”

I’d actually forgotten all about the poem; I wrote it a couple of years ago. But after hearing that song I pulled it up on my computer and read through it. It, like the song, is about heartbreak. And while I don’t know whatever happened to the Jolene in the song, I do know what happened to the Jolene in my poem. And now, many years later, I wish them nothing but happiness.


“And I could easily understand how you could take my man but you don’t know what he means to me.” – from Jolene by Dolly Parton


We were over by then, completely

finished. We’d both been through

the five stages of grief but I

circled back to depression.


You asked what you could do

and I said, Come over. Hold me.

We lay in bed that night, the first

time in months, and you held

me while I cried then said,

Please don’t write about this.

I don’t want Jolene to know.


I’d been the one to cause

the end, I know that, but you

moved on so fast – as if

the seven years we spent together

were best remembered through

the lens of a new love.


You stayed the night, holding

me, breathing softly

beside me. You left

before dawn.


I waited eight years

to write this poem.

I hope your wife