Alina Stefanescu



In the majority of winged species, copulation is achieved by apposition, the touching of crevices


i have always wanted

to fly. since I was three

and flown into this country

i’ve needed wings to imagine


The female bird must actively take up the sperm to be fertilized


surviving the little girl yearning

toward skylark or sparrow, one

of the 97% who cannot

be fertilized by force


Which may explain why male birds are so beautiful


whose male species has no penis

no weapon to force inside

a space he then sanctifies

in the language he builds


Male birds have evolved ornamentation to satisfy females who hunger for beauty


birds do not rip gods from

a sky to then shove

between begging-no lips

you can read what is left


Male birds must convince a female to accept their seed


in the dirt when you encounter

my unfeathered remains, see the tree

the roost, the noose

believe I have always wanted to fly


to be / one bird / choosing / a kiss



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 or @aliner.