Laura Madeline Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English. She is the author of several chapbooks including, Branding Girls (Finishing Line Press, 2011) and She who Loves Her Father (Dancing Girl Press, 2012). Her poetry has appeared in Margie, Feminist Studies, Poet Lore, Cream City Review, Pebble Lake Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her prose has appeared in Arts & Letters, Spittoon, Blackbird, American Short Fiction, 13th Moon, and elsewhere. Her reviews have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso Poetry Review, 42Opus, and elsewhere.
It will be hard not to talk. No one will question you.
Before silence, you spoke without pause to log your day.
You will forget how to mix poison, where the amulets
are kept, or that palms raised and facing you mean stop.
Though you once rambled about this and that, after one week,
your, What do we have here? response reduces to a half grimace.
On day twenty you allow yourself to moan to an empty room
because a book on grave robbers made you choke like a teenager.
The cat came over to watch you fight to clear your throat.
You discover words escape your tongue in a dark hall
or when you hear a knock after midnight.
You might think you’re yelling, but it’s barely a whisper.
Before you reach the stillness of a fifth week, you find
it is difficult to say, thank you, to attendants at your door.
When you pause before a museum display
you will know for the first time you are not alone.