Alina Stefanescu

Poems of Alina Stefanescu

Polytropos, Tuscaloosa

The neighborhood alphas leave engines running 
as hands soap car windows with specialized sponges. 
I try watching but the plot is deadbeat daddy, common
weekend refrain. Patches of armpit sweat vary by fabric
but football logos every pocket. Silence is a scrimmage
I invent back plots yet action runs circle to circle.
Huddles over tires. We are oval at best, baby blue eggs 
lining Easter baskets. Kids shuck corn from cobs and
leave the silk on the lawn for nests. A mom wonders
what happened to muses. A man resurrects a muscle.
A toddler wanders away. 

Love Poem Disguised as Felted Acorn

I love you direct as a sniper's studied rooftop bullet
there is a sense of conspiracy involved. 
For why go to the trouble of securing a secret
location near the birds, setting up one single
shot? There's nothing 

                       noble
about denouement.

So I love you like Traci Brimhall loves sperm 
whales loving squid in a circular motion there is no form
of love I can't make room to include 
in the business of keeping love fed, love nourished,
love groomed, love nurtured, love sleeping on the
roof-top of a Birmingham high-rise when we couldn't
resist. That night when it was over and yet hunger
for stars sent us out; we snuck into a sleeping bag naked
just to feel once more what had ended. Savor the finale.
Two children later, the loss of a mother carved 
into my face I still love you like certain murder, and 
love you like a cathedral adores its pieta. 
Even a cold stone church 

                       needs a woman
                       warming the hearth 
                       with her tears.

Foreign Bodies at Bellevue, 3:45 am

Fourteen beds hold luggage; coiled bodies of pain
      packed tight. 	I need a gauge, 	a measured notch
your head falling, parched 	tulip whose strain
      is not foreign. Both of us raised to watch
	
Mr. Rogers, to know manners, trusting 
                      nothing in Their language. White immigrant,
      black native, Birmingham wears us into rusting
              metal, tender scrap-heap, 	broken choir 	chant. 

Dearest poet, fellow germophobe, this
        is not even	 a poem. 	Not two strong voices
needing their mamas. 		A man moans, his hiss
       staggered. I plead for clean blankets, choices.

Amid their slurred jargon, blurry of terms,
I unhatch sobs-- and guard your bed from germs.

Concerning the Life Outside My Head

There's life outside your head
you say--and you aren't the first
to say it three hundred times. 
Meaning ten multiplied by thirty
in the same crisp tone 
clatter of ice cubes 
adding emphasis.

A centipede scoots its way across
the wicker chair you say please 
sit. Say please 
ignore it. 
I try everything
once, but there's life outside
my head I can't entirely crush. 
Your hesitating grin, my
hips gearing your lap, the 
hollowed between us
is hallowed harrow. 

I spy the wren's solid beak, the 
earthworm squirming, how life 
swallows life in one 
single wing's span. 

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