Abbie Mulvihill

We Can Move Forward Now

My nose is burning from the Urine Destroyer.


I’m speaking to the judge with my bare feet
Perched on the cedar chest in front of me.
I move the socks from my pocket
To the couch cushion next to me.
Why wear socks when
The aging dog
Has suddenly sprung a leak?


The judge thinks my husband called in.
We’re going to wait for him to call back.
I take a deep breath and explain,
“That was me.
I needed to be sure
I’d have audio on the Zoom call.”


We can move forward now.


It’s not emotional
Except for my disgust
At the attorney’s failure to tell me
I needed to have the Separation Agreement
On hand.


Of course I have it.
I’m always prepared.


I am getting divorced
In the same house
In which I was married.
Two rooms away.


What if I’d worn the same dress
Stood in the same spot
And placed the iPad judge
Where the officiant had stood?
Would I have erased time?


10 minutes.


It’s over.
I still feel nothing.


I move to the room
Between marriage and divorce
Where once we celebrated with
Coconut cake and a toast to our


Now, I sit alone at the table and play
(for the umpteenth time)
Mika singing, “Happy Ending” with
The Sinfonia Pop Orchestra.


The pets have concerns
About this behavior.
But I’m trying to add emotion after
The cold, masked Zoom call.
I need to cry
And I want céad míle slán.


Today is my childhood best friend’s
56th birthday.
I don’t know where she is or
What she’s doing.
I haven’t seen her in decades
But I’m glad today is her birthday.
She is the only other person I know
To be divorced


A “two-time loser.”
Evidence that “you’re the problem.”
This is what people say
Out of fear.


No one remembered this day, but me.
I am relieved
Because it’s not the champagne day
Everyone wanted.


What now?
Return to telework?
Dairy Queen instead of champagne?
Drive around the Beltway
In my own personal Freedom Convoy
While blasting Life in Cartoon Motion?


It’s raining
Tears of joy
Or sorrow
Or Urine Destroyer.


Traffic will be a disaster.



I look at the back of my hands
And see they have turned into
A pale version of my mother’s.


When I was young,
I loved to outline and press down on
Her bulging blue veins.
I adored those veins.


She shook her head at that
Because she hated them.
They reminded her of her
Grandmother’s hands.


Now that they are mine,
I am torn between loving them for being
And hating them—

Not because they are ugly,
But because she thought
I should hate them.

Abbie Bradfield Mulvihill originally hails from Chicago but has lived in the DC area for over 34 years. She is a civil servant who recently decided to release her poems from the confines of her laptop. Her poem, “We Can Move Forward Now,” was first published in Best American Poetry’s “Pick of the Week” on August 28, 2022. “Icelandic Saga” first appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly.

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