Carolyn Supinka

Philoctetes’ Talk Therapy

thorn in the mind / current in the sea that is more of a blank space than a direction / I don’t know how deep it is / when the branches shudder above I know it is the dark bird / I cannot see / its presence hawks me / what to do but feed myself and forget about it / plumbing the past for pain—what good would that do? / I sit here / and the pain plumbs me / I can’t drink here / there is no wine and no one to talk to / I can feel a fence in myself / like rain in the night / I woke up one day and saw what had happened to me / like a fence in the night / not a neighborly thing to do / keep me out of myself / if I try to trespass I don’t know what would happen / what I would do to me

Philoctetes Waits

When you are lucky call it luck. The wind carried me luck and unluck.
The wind that carried me here and then caused me to be left. The wind

that whispered in my ear. The wind that breathed life into the snake that saw
my body and found its purpose in my flesh. What to do but wait until things

reveal themselves. Everyone can see the signs but not everyone will believe.
I believe in the signs I see. I believe it’s a sign that I see them. I want nothing

more than the world to tell me how to live here. Nothing more than a moon
white eggshell. Just the halflight swimming like a snake through the room.

The wind pushing your hair across your shoulders, the wind winding its fingers
in your clothes and whispering it’s time to go. It’s good to know the world

is on your side when you exit a scene. The wise know when they are left.
The wise know when to leave. Waiting for the right sign can trap you.

Waiting for a better vision to come along, and meanwhile nobody believes the visions but
you. You’ll know the moment it’s safe to sail away

because the sea will touch your feet and tell you so. The wind that told you
how to get here will tell you how to leave.

Carolyn Supinka

Carolyn Supinka is the author of Stray Gods (2016, Finishing Line Press) and is a visual artist and writer from Indiana, Pennsylvania, currently based in Oregon. She holds an MFA from Oregon State University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Pondicherry, India from 2013-2014. Her work was most recently published in Poet Lore, The Coachella Review, and The Citron Review, and is forthcoming in The Sonora Review.