The Day She Stopped Talking

A car without brakes and brick wall.

No, a car petering out of gas,
dashboard pump lit like a lighthouse and refusing
to pull into the Git n Split
though he repeatedly said
honey, you are running on empty
“                 “                          “.

The girlfriends noticed at once, how could they not?
Bunco night the lone chatter of dice and stirred ice.

When she opened her mouth
bees instead tumbled out, stingers torn
from some, the others stumbling-Raid drunk.

The chasm between hearing and being heard?
Evel Knieval’s last jump.

No more alphabet soup; she is the restaurant
of broth, 1000 ways to live through a straw.

Song was hardest;
Some days it burbled up before
back down she stomached it— 
rollin,’ rollin,’ rollin’ on the river—

She understood the speak of maples:
the bleeding tips, the grasping twigs,
the fluttering, the floating, the fall.

If she were the namer of things,
epiphany would be a blood-orange streamer.

 Cathryn Cofell

Cathryn Cofell

Cathryn Cofell is the author of Sister Satellite (Cowfeather Press) and six chapbooks, and the winner of the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award and the WI People & Ideas Prize for Poetry, among others. Hailing from Appleton, Wisconsin, Cofell is a tire(d)(less) advocate for the arts, helping to launch the WI Poet Laureate Commission, Verse Wisconsin, the WFOP Chapbook Prize,  and the Poetry Rocks Reading Series.