Poems from Katharine Coggeshall

The Split

I had a fight with myself this morning,

perhaps because the yucca bushes are blooming

or perhaps because I’m phasing with the moon—

both angelic ways of saying I have allergies and I’m PMSing.

Either way, I was ready to pick a fight,

and my reflection was unfortunate enough to make an appearance.

It was quite the blowout,

with insults raining and normally bottled emotions

spilling all over the floor,

creating hazards wherever I walked.

I certainly won and lost,

the verdict changes depending

on which split of my personality you believe.

They’re both crazy, if you ask me,

though no one ever does.

We’ve yet to make up,

and I’ve offered no less than a yucca bouquet.

This may be our final split.


I begin five hundred times before stepping with confidence in one direction. With pre-worn soles and aching feet, I stride, knowing this placement at one is shorthand for one thousand. Stepping like a metronome can only soothe me for a mile before I weaken to the need for crescendo and ascent. Barefoot over cacti, reaching for the crags, my muscles fully coil to anticipate the leap. Not once is there a question to climb without a mission; not once is there a moment to tend to bleeding feet. And so I cross the mountains because my mind tells me I must, while my injured body weeps a language I no longer speak.


If you take the edits,

take the critiques,

to better bloom in season

and embrace the wind

that robs you of your seed,

there will be a moment

after decades of shaping,

of pruning,

when you reflect on vanished roots,

nod to the wildflowers,

and wither.

About Katharine Coggeshall

Katharine Benelli Coggeshall lives in the mountains of New Mexico. Although her background is in science, Katharine has always been drawn to writing. She is now a technical writer-editor for a national laboratory. Katharine has been published by Blue Mountain Arts, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Constant Content, Prolific Press, Inklings Publishing, Focus on the Family, Rue Scribe, and authors a column in the Los Alamos Daily Post Newspaper.


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