Two poems by Alina Stefanescu

semiahmoo treeimage credit: em

What I Sought in Bucharest, Summer of 1990

I came to talk Plotinus, Ceausescu, revolution,
was given Cioran and everything, everything

happened in the cradle of that language where I first
heard love you, soft cadences of kisses, a mother tongue.

Any fruit promised a taste of marvel, of wine or blood
who could say which if transubstantiation is possible

If I wanted both, if I wanted everything for an almighty dollar.
Teenaged boys hawked Levis and George Michael bootlegs

on linden-laced sidewalks. Sudden poets left their verse
on cafe napkins to be published by sunlight.

I wanted to know how my parents defected but
everything (everything) collaborated against accounting.

Conquered by clematis and fresh-struck diesel
I fell into love, rubbed my te iubesc over park benches.

I came to know how to leave what you
love and come back, live.


clear-cut the trees that sheltered
these naked bodies
before love became a word

we were legible
saplings. limbs tangle
for less than a bloom

on my cheeks, rub-marks of
your recent stubble
leave me branded

like bark, notched down
with deer antler. who
cares if the forest is gone

in this house
we burn

stitch sheets
from fallen leaves

About Alina Stefanescu

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. A multiple Pushcart nominee, she is the author of Objects In Vases (Anchor & Plume, March 2016), Letters to Arthur (Beard of Bees, August 2016), and Ipokimen (Anchor and Plume, November 2016). Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Business Relationships Prize. She has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at or @aliner.

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