After Odysseus by Megan Pinto

Here, in the clinic, a therapist asks the child to draw
a picture of her body—to color all the places where it hurts, and color
all the places where it feels good. No medical examiner, no jury,
just a child and her pencils—in this version she is taller
than the trees. Outside, it is winter, and slow cars make tracks
through the snow. I hold blank paper with both hands as I imagine
the cyclops held his weeping eye. Around him: upturned dirt
and footprints. Did he focus on the scent of the sea? Though still,
it must have lingered in the air—the scent of citrus and men.
Alone, he counted his slaughtered brothers, while dead sheep
roasted in the sun. I know what it is to stand at the edge
of someone else’s story. The therapist retreats to the hallway,
but leaves the door ajar. The child in this moment is calm—
she is playing a game with her hands: she is catching every ray
of light through the window, late afternoon and brilliant.
Megan Pinto’s poetry can be seen in Indiana Review, Four Way Review, Passages North, and Tupelo Quarterly, and is forthcoming in Ploughshares and The Minnesota Review. She has received scholarships from The Port Townsend Writer’s Conference and Bread Loaf, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson.