by Alina Stefanescu for Maggie S. I couldn't sleep, my whole head occupied by endings. Fear sounds the same up close, every edge shares its lightning. By morning, the kids want fresh muffins, something sweet as the commercial you've rehearsaled: this motherhood. The cereal poured over a headache, the happy voice you rent to make going nowhere sound fun. In a car with coffee, roads twisted by last night's tornadoes. The chatter of blossoms, azalea buds. It is spring in Alabama. The teen son says geese have teeth on their tongues which they use to eat souls. You believe it. Roofs look up from the road. You drive slower, you slow for hearses. The youngest child hums; she counts colts in the meadows. She dreams of riding a Palomino. You love these kids more than mayo on french fries, more than midnight, more than your own mother loved you which is the algebra of ashes. What is true remains impossible to measure, or prove. The littlest raises ten fingers and says I am both hands now, mommy. I am two but I don't know about being more. She says her heart only hoped to be a horse thief.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020). Her poetry collection, dor, won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize and is forthcoming in July 2021. Alina’s writing can be found (or is forthcoming) in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, Poetry Editor for Random Sample Review, Poetry Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter. More online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com.