Alina Stefanescu

Listen to Me, Maria Calciu!
by Alina Stefanescu

I didn’t believe you about the bird: not the eyes you said were made from leaves.

Nor did I believe in longing that tasted of soil: the implication that you placed dirt on your tongue and swallowed a morsel of holy communion.

I never believed in transubstantiation: why would I believe you turned back into the earth consumed?

I didn’t believe much. I didn’t believe it’s partner, not much, either.

But I believed the memory gate you saw stretched across the empty fire of August: that and the way you held your own hand, one hand-lover to another, afraid the fire might die and take the gate with it.

I didn’t believe you could be so careless, playing with the fire stoked by summer’s last breath.

But I believed you about the flame and how much better to burn alive than end unwilling: a cluster of cremated ashes.

How fire licks the heart like a long-lost kitten: coming home.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 3.

Alina StefanescuAlina Stefanescu was born in Romania, raised in Alabama, and reared by the love-ghost of Tom Waits and Hannah Arendt. She lives in Tuscaloosa with her partner and and three children who don’t believe she was a finalist in the Black Warrior Review’s annual poetry contest this year. More online at

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