In the car bleary-eyed. We down-shift past
a dying bird. The struggle to untangle broken
bones, steal a step forward.
Is it possible we won't believe death when it arrives?
A desert monk named Agathon
lived for 3 years with a stone in his mouth
so he might learn
to keep silent.
When we return to a space without words, it is
a relapse. Rise from bed with an image of Mom
and remember the image is all she left.
Bitter buzz of whiplash, a was a was wuzzing.
Stages of grief are closer to stadiums
where we sit and engage the world, schools
where we learn to spectate. Even if
death is not a thing which happens on stage
but a galaxy we can’t see beyond.
Maybe these are different
doors and I am seeking
Suicide: a door that closes us.
Euthanasia: a door we ask others to shut, a story
about consent & how we honor other bodies.
We consent to count less
when watching the evening news.
Quantify the end
of foreign bodies. And then
something else: Mom's death: unspeakable
as exquisite sex, unfathomable ravage.
The knot and ruin of a good life.
The bird’s wing. The beak’s crunch.
The innocent blizzard.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com or @aliner.