Tag Archives: Stick Figure With Skirt

“Fertility Specialist” by Cathryn Cofell

Another woman steals a picture
of our doctor from his office,
him cupping new babies.
She centers him on her refrigerator
with a Buddha magnet,
prays to him daily
over the ritual of opening,
of the taking of milk and cream.
In the fall she has a daughter
fat as a butterball turkey
while my belly remains empty,
the only objects filling
my kitchen, held tight,
an “I visited Wall Drug” postcard
and the face of a brother
like a rotting jack o’lantern
A year later, I bump into her
in a clinic parking lot.
She offers up an ultrasound
of her eye, points out the spot
they zapped her clear of a clot.
She cries out
of her one good eye,
asks me to pray she will see,
that her vision no longer floats.
I pull her to me,
take her in,
take her x-ray eye home,
throw her voodoo in the trash.

Cathryn Cofell, Appleton, is the author of two full length collections, Sister Satellite (Cowfeather Press, 2013) and Stick Figure With Skirt (forthcoming from Main Street Rag), and six chapbooks including Split Personality with Karla Huston (sunnyoutside, 2012). You can also hear her perform her poems on Lip, with the music of Obvious Dog. Her work has been published in over 300 journals and anthologies and is the recipient of over 50 awards, including the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award (2019), the Mill Prize for Poetry (2019), the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award (2014) and multiple Pushcart nominations.


“A Hard Lesson from Hirsch” by Cathryn Cofell

What did I know then
of the tenderness of poetry?
Head full of chlorine
and dripping boys in Speedos.
High school was elegy,
fashion and fractions,
spandex and goggles,
ass in the air on a starting block,
a coach who passed me in algebra
so I could rip 50 meters of watery space
in less time than it took to read Frost.
What did I know then
of the cogent of desire?
That coach should have flunked me,
left me to sulk in the library
where Eddie and I could be discovered,
flailing in the stacks.
Now, instead, I suffer the ghost,
Eddie’s rhythm a rock from a slingshot,
me a wild hare poised.
“You are a foreigner to yourself,”
he writes in chalk around me
and the young girls giggle,
this old girl too young.

Cathryn Cofell-Appleton, publishes poems, essays and emails to bad teachers.  She has her name on six chapbooks, a CD and a forthcoming collection, but no restraining orders.  Yet.

Read her poem “Fertility Specialsit.”