Carolyn Supinka


You forget how you happened to find them:
in a swath of grass freshly cut
beside the fire pit, its crumbling brick: two bodies
circling, ouroboros-like, a slimy 69
in the dew, and your face still puffy from sleep,
clutching a coffee mug, hovering high above the garden slugs
like a clumsy, unwanted sun. You look up
the particulars, fascinated by the courtship,
the way the roles are shared, swapped, and then,
if they feel like it, (and they often do),
swapped again. “Love darts” are involved,
and the slow, focused circling. Later at your desk,
you wonder if the foreplay is still unfolding
outside or if the slugs have unstuck, bored
or slowly sliming towards another slug,
in this garden of maybe a hundred slugs.
Maybe when you’re oozing, it feels infinite:
the possibilities of who you could encounter
underfoot. I talk about certainty
with a friend and how it’s like smoke
or slime, slipping between our fingers.
It’s what we do to understand, to tell stories
that shine like a constellation organized
into a narrative, a trail of mucous
shimmering behind. The Arion subfuscus
secretions inspired surgical glue
that patches pig hearts with its toughness.
Even faced with the interior weather, the wear
our bodies bear inside, it’s viscid. Holds up strong.


I stumble through their space, dumb
and definite as a comet: to exist
in the in-between means furniture

of the earth, oak and ash, armature
everywhere that can be flung and sewn
into a cohesion of thread, fabric draped

accidental over a profile
when walking between hedges,
invisbling the air. Ghosts thread

long fingers through the silk shrouds
of each shadowy corner, echoing dust
in their wake. Cobweb describes

an abandoned web. It’s common to eat your home
to recover the energy spent building it. Last night,
I followed the orbit of one pale body, bright

as the moon, across the ceiling until it cast
a strand and sailed through the iron comb
of the floor grate, the mouth of our house,

where, in the dark, it probably walked quietly
straight into the heart. Some lives feel possible
when they are seen.


All night long we listen to the world break apart.
Ice crashes in sheets to the frozen street, taking with it

brittle branches, dead limbs. The middle of a calamity
is the perfect time to prepare for the next. We trade predictions

on the timeline of our species and watch The Mummy,
and you fall asleep before the star-crossed priest’s resurrection

is complete, just moments before he is sent back into death.
That’s messed up, we often say about things like that. Lately my memory

has been a stringless balloon on its way to the stratosphere, ungraspable
and self annihilating, and I’ve become a necromancer everywhere. In the grocery store,

considering which newly hybrid apple to purchase, suddenly the aisles reel, fluorescent lighting flickers, and my past selves line up by the self checkout. Fossils

of heartache hovering next to the tabloids. All I can do is play dumb, scan my pasta,
step carefully over the water pooling around their boots

from some mythical river underground. No words are spoken but I can tell
what we’re all thinking. Returning is one thing, and staying is another.

Carolyn Supinka is a writer and visual artist from western Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she creates poems, comics, and prints, and works as an arts administrator. Her work has recently been published in Hobart, The West Review, The Hunger, Radar Poetry, and Sixth Finch. She is the co-editor of Conjunction, a zine micropress.