Hannah Feinberg

she was like six date pits total

her eyes
like two date pits
her lips
like two greasy date pits
her hands
also like two date pits in a number of ways

how much spit is any of us

some days it’s been panting hot
and i am like a lime left in the fridge for three months (cross-section)
or a small desert island
with two Far Side characters on it

i run until my legs say “no way, jose”
and then i sit down [thud] in the grass (thud)
and check if i am a missed connection
or a punk’d mark,
for crying out loud!

i love you so much i look at you n see a glistening rotisserie chicken when i am hungry

i say ::

‘ a honest good kiss is one where you ask:
“forgetting something?”

and then they honest to goodness
kiss you
right smackdab on your fucking forehead’

i googled nocturia and thought of the first fifteen minutes of “buffalo ’66”

the best time of day to have to piss a lot is nighttime
this is because a)
it is quiet b)
outside, it is cool c)
if it is inside there is a shaved almond of light from the bathroom door

and there might be a spider in toilet you never know

and it is like a soft yawn to have piss in you now but soon after to not

but what is bad is that now —
when there are other people in the same house
or, in the same room
as where you have to piss real bad @nighttime —
you might wake them every time you have to piss
and then you will be awake (to piss)
and they will be awake (to hear you piss) too
it is tempting to piss the bed to not wake them !

if you could fly to the fingernail of light outside the bathroom door
if you could float w o angering the creaky boards on the old wood floor that the landlord won’t fix
(maybe if your whole body wasn’t pregnant w piss)

and then piss until it was a fluttering balloon
and then
(the creaky boards are lava and you a quiet genius)
float backk
and then not get the mattress to shouting
and w o you tripping on your backpack on the floor
then it would be so friggin nice
to have to piss @ nighttime

to: people who also eat asparagus
our piss smells the same
night or day

Hannah Feinberg just finished at McGill. Now she is bored and scared and wants to make new things, meet new things, find new things. She wants to be a comedian when she grows up anddoesn’t like movies nor music as much as she’d thought.

Maura Nolan

Insert Her Name Here

She might be among the worst kind of people.
She’s cold.
She’s sarcastic and biting.
She will tell you exactly what she thinks of all your insecurities and imperfections.
She’ll pierce your heart with her words then rip it out with her actions and shove it back down your throat.
She has the capacity to feel everything at once then nothing at all.

But from time to time she’ll show you the slightest stream of light that she forever keeps shaded from the world.
And that will be enough to make you fall in love with her.
Madly, unabashedly in love with her so that no semblance of sanity is worth as much as the mania of her.
Your day will begin and end with her.
She’ll give money to a homeless man knowing full well that he intends to use it to buy booze. She wears the wrong shoes in the middle of winter, and girlish pigtails despite her age.
She’ll read to you and challenge you.
She’ll smoke like a fucking chimney while drinking too much red wine and laugh drunkenly at you when you declare that you’ve “quit”...again.

Her laugh.
You’d do anything to make her laugh.
Loud, throaty and raucous.
The most unfeminine, boisterous, charming sound you’ve ever heard coming from a tiny girl.
Her eyes will widen and she’ll throw her head back.
You will see every bit of light she hides through her eyes, but also her darkness, her deep intense darkness.

She will trust you and allow you to see how frail she actually is.
She’ll confess to you all of her irrational worries and anxieties.
She will cry to you and for you and in spite of you.
You will want to save her.
You will protect her and hold her close and attempt to dry her tears.
She won’t let you.
She’ll swat your hand away in protest and push and push and push until you want to leave, just to see if you’ll stay.

If she tries to hit you, let her.
It means you’ve affected her.
You’ve gotten under her skin and she hates feeling that vulnerable.
She will tell you she loves you, and believe with every fiber of her being that she does.
You will believe her.
In every kiss, in every touch, in every look you will believe her.
She will force you to reconsider your entire life and everything you thought you once knew.

You’ll want to marry her.
You’d walk to the ends of the earth for a blade of grass if she insisted she needed it.
You will rearrange your mind just to make sure there is room for her to stay.
And you will want to kill her when she leaves you.

And she will.
She will leave you because even though you know it’s her, that she’s it, she won’t.
She’ll spit some bullshit at you about getting her life wrong or not experiencing enough or finding you the most annoying person imaginable.

She will sabotage her own happiness and you will hate her for sabotaging yours.
You will hate her because you love her in spite of yourself.
You will hate her because hating her is less painful than loving her anymore.

Excerpts from The She Series


I saw her through the glass pane. She sat alone gently smoking a cigarette. There was something deep about her gaze. It seemed to hold something that wasn't visible to the naked eye. She was lost. Her expression was sad and overwhelmed with concern. Something kept me from comforting her. Her sadness was real, but it was not to be tampered with. It was meant to endure. Her sadness was meant to be still. There was something so deftly dramatic about her face. She would subtly scowl at sounds that displeased her. But she would stare at the world that bustled about her with such dark curiosity. She needed to know that everything fit. That each thing had a story. However enveloped she was in her own, yes reader I knew her that well, she would inhale the energy of the world around her. As I watched her as she sat there with her concern and her cigarette I knew she was searching for a deeper purpose.


She was comfortable with her anger and annoyance.
It was a still state of being that she found peaceful.
Her creativity was at its peak when she was unhappy.
She needed to be lonely.
She needed to dwell in her self imposed bitterness to articulate her thoughts on the human condition.
The happiness and care people wanted to bestow on her never sat well.
It disrupted her process and made her mind feel blank.
She enjoyed other storms.
She liked being around others who were too painfully aware of what was happening around them.
Like herself.
Though she appreciated those that wanted to bring her joy, she didn't know how to live without disdain.


At that moment I realized how strong my desire to take care of this woman was.
There is that flustered tizzy, I wanted to ease her chaos.
She folded in frustration laughing pathetically at her mishap.
She was a mess, glistening from the heat, with her bobbed wave of curls falling in her eyes.
She was beautiful.
Her defeat never became heavy, though.
She continued to move with an agile propriety.
Her turns were deliberate as though she had to pirouette to move.
Pointing her toes to indicate where things were when her hands were full.
She never lost her balance, only her sanity.
When asked if she was a dancer, she would scoff and deny any claim that she resembled a ballerina.
She was like a live wire.
Animated and vigorous.
I wanted to protect her electric grace.


She is Mother Earth,
with this unquenchable desire to tangle you in her willowy web.
She never thought she'd go crazy.
To allow her mind to bend reality.
Mental photographs that wither in time.
Straying further and further from the edge of existence.
Improbable images of what could have been.
They become her stories.
She will immortalize you if you are brave enough to destroy her.

Maura Nolan is a Buffalo based actor, director and writer. Her short play Cyclical Trouble was first produced at The American Repertory Theater of Western New York in 2014. Her writing circles around the existential crisis and self-discovery through behavioral patterns and relationships in your twenties. She is an active member of the Buffalo Theater community and living the cliché of an artist who waits tables to pay the bills. She often flaunts her yoga stomach in midriff shirts and Annie Hall style line pants.

Z.M. Wise

Her Botanic Barrage

It is no secret,
natural red woman.
It is no secret that shades of
tickled pink and vineyard purple
should exploit their interests,
blossoming from afar.

The stem of the growth,
the root of the stem...
reaches out to touch the soil of
this island...Earth.

Clouds, puncture thy center and
let the rain speak for itself!
Share the wealth and
awaken that which lacks the
slumber and pollination.

When the heavenly aroma
reaches the tip of the nostrils,
forever will you be encased in
Gaia’s willful abilities.

And on the seventh day,
confined deities let loose an
organic way of living.

Selene arouses the curiosity of
stamen brothers and petal sisters.

Her light,
tilting on the silver lining,
shines on the silhouettes of
mating and dating rituals.

Ah, what a century!
Oh, how soft the infant dirt
feels on these youthful feet,
running through fields of
authentic nature, blessed and fruitful.

Her seeds are children from above.
The choir of progress carries
such a sweet voice that
accompanies fruit growing on the vine.

Take my hand,
daring mistress of the flowers, and
away we shall fly!

Promise from plant life:
“Out of death, new life emerges.”

A colossal monumental memory,
orchestrated by a watering pot and your love.
The planet’s core: royal seed.
It sprouts an anonymous garden.

Your Infinite Ink Runs Through

Your infinite ink runs through my mortal pen.

Let Erato have the
golden reigns of love poetry,
for you are the goddess of words.

Words are all we have,
thanks to your gracious breath,
thanks to your mental semblance,
thanks to your infinite tidal wave.

Your infinite tidal wave
washes over my mere shoreline.

Water-filled bliss browses
windows that display plastic fads.

We do not let a rose with
thorns on its side to prick us.

Blood: creativity juice,
permanent, similar, and irreconcilable.

Your infinite serenity gallops around
my limited sanity.

And you keep me supplied.
And you let me hold your entirety.
And your love led me to ecstasy.
And your celestial twinkle is all I need.

H-E-R (Perpetuity)

She is her.
Smiling is her.

Speaking in that
natural tone about
1940s horror movies is her.

Syd’s irregular head becomes
vacant for the presence of her.

How she absorbs the
world and proclaims the
love of enjoying life: her.

Kept these brown eyes
locked on no other girl but her.

One would rather not converse with
any girl but her.

Have you seen her?
Have you seen her waves of
golden-brown hair,
shaking pleasantly when
she laughs at the most miniscule
amusements asthey
present themselves?

Her eyes?
Her voice?
Saintly melody.
Her interests?
Vast as oceans.

Like yours truly, a
larger love for animals
more than sorry humans, for
we belong to the earth, not vice versa.

This instant connection
runs faster than
pitiful satellite for the
World Wide Web...falsehood.

Help her rediscover the
gift of ars poetica,
for it is not just writing,
but a blessing made of
ink, paper, and your infinite mind.

This is the heartbeat in sync, and
no one else but her
can know these facts.

A rising star in the arts that
deserves long-awaited recognition?

Constant silent encounters
with whom I experienced,
a talkie that deserves an Oscar?

Gal with traits of positivity?

Who can I daydream about
for hours on end until nightfall?

Why daydream, though,
when she is only one
beautifying look away?

I celebrate her!
Let me learn everything about her!
Breathe in the though...of her.

Z.M. Wise is a 26 year old pure-blood poet, a proud Chicago native and the Co-Editor of Transcendent Zero Press, an independent publishing press.

Jasmine V. Bailey

Apologia for Lechers

When you see the topless teenage girls
sunbathing in Mallorca, their grins
traveling towards the corresponding
teenage boys, who run and chortle
in that casual way that’s almost always an act,
you may say, good, let these young, lithe
beauties enjoy one another’s perfect bodies
and empty hearts, let them not be squandered
on the lapping, desperate love of some
old slob or needy woman.

You realize that blond is not a color but the way
no part of them is made of earth. All dust in them
has come from stars with trembling half-lives
that sing softly, there is no other moment.
They are stupid as deer which saves them
from the ugliness of philosophy,
rip tides in the Balearic,
its botulistic trash, which saves them
from the mistakes that thinking causes.

Or then again you might scan those legs,
those chests that have their own assertions against man’s
and nature’s laws, chests no one can govern,
and you might observe that they don’t know
how rare the girls they practice love on are.
And that boy who wets her lips
could be any other spearfishing from the jetty
for all she cares, because the world
is full of mirrors: sun gleam, water’s surface,
a best friend’s tinted glasses whose name
she won’t remember the summer after next,
and that makes it easy to see nothing at all.

You may see that, like victims of thirst
or ignorance, they’ll drink anything, take work
that amounts to slavery, buy lobster
from the factory store until their credit’s gone.
When the knock comes at the door, they’ll turn
to the middle of the bed where the disaster
of time will dawn in what last night was a lover.
They have never noticed anything before;
now everywhere they look the mirrors
distort tirelessly those sheer lines, those colors
that came in gaily from outer space
just to gad about a day and die,
that you and I saw on the beach, and pined.

By now you love them, want to save them
from the idiot in the bed, the coked-up
groupie in the bathroom. Why should they
never again make love to a slender boy
now they’ve discovered what one is?
If you could you would take one to Mallorca,
set a wide-brimmed hat upon her faded head,
turn her towards the jetty dripping gods
and say, It’s alright, my dear, go on.
At the hotel you order palo and watch
peasants batter octopi against the rocks.

Love in the Emergency Room

Homeless fall here as often as they are able
to sleep in the heart-starting fluorescent light beneath a single sheet
still as a urine cup.
Dan leans against the cot where I scream
and then grow brave on Percocet.
He is a normal person
except in the ways in which he is exceptional.
He struggles with when to replace undershirts
and runs standard derivatives on election results
from far-flung parts of Brazil;
this makes him truly normal.
I think he is wearing the suit in which he married me,
given to him by a friend moving to Russia who’d outgrown it.
The night he left we drank PBR in the only dive
in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two of them were lousy with languages
and complex insights into security policy.

Once I lay in the emergency room
trying to make St. Lucians tell me about their homes,
trying to remember some of “Omeros.”
But on any old day life feels that way:
people walk by as if I am not there, wearing
cares all over their bodies. Some have fallen in a heap
somewhere that can only be comfortable
if you’ve tried hell. Sometimes they take pity on me
and tell me a story. They like that, as people go, I require little pity;
it’s easier to be good. It’s never long
before they reveal some aperture into human suffering
that troubles them. They don’t know what to do
with the homeless who want turkey sandwiches,
to say nothing of their daughters.
I love them for being regular. I want to love the heap
which seems dead but is a person. I should lift him
in my arms and tell him what to do to change everything,
starting with personal hygiene, then college matriculation,
but my arm is broken and I have started screaming again
because an orderly made me move the ridiculous dress
I tripped on in the first place. I see now that no one

really has the full use of their arms. No one needs only one
turkey sandwich or night of clean sheets. Dan is normal,
but sometimes his talent makes him seem invulnerable.
I like that. Everybody likes that. My fingers sag. Even the air
is more than I can lift. My soul is not as limitless
as the color green in a forest renewed by rain. My body feels
more shatterable inside this polyester dress
meant to look like the robe of a Greek goddess but which
is clearly some factory-made shit from Macys.
My wisdom is like a coin in an inner pocket
that could not purchase a candy bar at a bus stop.

In memory, it is harder to tell who was the victim and who
the aggressor in my well-worn conflicts. Men have the habit
of trying to breach clothes which are meant to keep them out,
but this does not save them from streets or the floor,
or crippling pity for strangers. It’s even possible
that it means nothing at all. The face of the man
who gave Dan his suit before he moved to Moscow
is soft, sad, and sweet like Georgian wine.
He gained too much weight to wear the suit but the weight

brought things in him to the surface which made him beautiful.
He has a noise that means he finds something sad and funny,
and he gets better the later it is and the more everyone has drunk.
The world should be made nocturnal for him, and kind,
and less rigid and ignorant and redundant. Young,
I failed to see that to be extraordinary is a gift
granted to everyone who is loved. I didn’t know
that what was rare and valuable was the ordinary, the way
one leans into the cot, not heroic, not collapsing.
The bagel with cream cheese, the steady gait,
the one you love because he’s yours, like a plot of land,
like the moment you are born to your weird parents
to the one in which your heart finally gets over blood.

Bhagavad Gita in the Philly Airport

A woman with a faint Haitian accent asks me to look after her bags while she
goes to the bathroom. Or I’ve profiled her as Haitian because she has a soft (?)
Romance language-seeming accent and she is black.

Why soft? Are Romance languages softer than other languages, like German, or,
more to the point, African languages? or do I mean that the more different people
are from us (from Europeans) the more uncomfortable we feel, and that can be
described in physical, tactile terms? I can’t name a single African language,

except Arabic, which is imperial, and English, which is even worse imperial, and
Swahili, which is probably indirectly imperial, Europeans preferring
that Africans have a universal language to complain about them in, after all
they’ve done for them/we’ve done for them/ in our various variations on, mainly,
Latin, or other branches of the so-called “Indo-European” language,

which really hit the jackpot when people were swarming all over the contiguous
land-masses, the Volkerwanderung, wandering of nations, over the silk road or
some ur-silk road, from which we know as well as we know anything about those
long-ago times that tea and wine were discussed

because those words last almost intact in all the descended languages, and I
wonder whether Hungarians and Finns even picked up chai and vin because
apparently as far back as history goes, and longer, people needed their tea and
wine, stat, and who can blame them? Chai, vin, two things too important to risk
being misunderstood.

She could be French or Canadian, or something else completely; it’s not like I’m
some dead-shot with accents, and here I’ve gone and politicized it, turned it into
some post-colonial thing an undergrad would come up with in a paper about
House for Mr. Biswas.

And I’m too caught up in the developing battle between self-reproach and self-
defense to fully consider whether to look after her bags, which, let’s face it, I’m
going to agree to, although it’s expressly, constantly forbidden over the
loudspeaker when they’re not killing us with Fleetwood Mac.

This could be it. She is disaffected, radicalized, and why shouldn’t she be?
It’s always young men blowing things up—which is rich, she might say. You feel
like the world’s against 
you? Try being an older black woman, she should say to
the terrorists, who could all use a good talking-to. If anyone had the right to blow
up the Philadelphia airport, it would be this nice lady.

She must have profiled me too: white, not quite young, not yet old, dressed like
someone who would dress well if they could figure out how to easily and cheaply.
Was it my Danskos? Did she think, no one with shoes that heavy would attempt
For there are many kinds of people who wear Danskos and they are all
united by this: they will fall if they run.

And they spent a lot of money on shoes which are ugly and last forever, so you
will spend like a decade wondering why you did it. Then you’ll get rid of them in
a fit and wonder why you did that, until you start to develop a spur on the back of
your foot because life is hard for women and you’re on your feet working just to
try to get by in this world,

and you repeat the cycle on Zappos one morning after the spur keeps you up all
night, and then you’re comfortable and somewhat uglier and if you do more than
trot you will twist the crap out of your ankle, which is fine with you, because you
don’t want to run anywhere, because you have to work every day just to afford
healthcare that carries a $6000 deductible, so you can’t afford to use the insurance
you can’t afford,

and every month there’s some mystifying problem with your birth control, like
they don’t carry it, or you’re in the wrong state, or the prescription’s up, or they
don’t work with that insurance card. At the CVS they’ve never heard of Vermont
or Bernie Sanders--they’re just trying to get by in this world, to pay off their loans
for pharmacy school. They wear Danskos, because they are medical professionals,
sort of, and that is one of the populations vulnerable to German shoes.

They, too, would make more understandable terrorists, but once again, this time in
Belgium, in the wee hours last night, it was young men, inheritors of the whole
damn earth, who tried to destroy it, destroy the tired people taking the metro
back and forth from work.

I bet there was a Hatian woman on one of those trains, with not only her own
life’s, but centuries’ worth of sorrows. It’s a vale of tears, they say, and
sometimes, when I have a view of a valley, I imagine a mist hanging in it made of
the tears of regular folks, and that all the people on earth are slogging through it,
like a massive herd of wildebeest, and are stained by those tears at best, and
drowned in them at worst, as some wildebeest always are as they try to ford
rivers, trying to make it by in this world, thirsty and hungry and simple as they are, as we are.

Her luggage does not explode. I hope she would choose someone else to blow up
or get arrested for illegally agreeing to watch her otherwise unattended bags, if
such were her intentions. I hope that, even though I racially profiled her as Hatian
and assumed she had a lot of sorrows and wrote a poem about it which is basically
a privileged white bullshit thing to do, that, like her, I was too nice to kill. One
wants to think so but knows there was never anyone too nice to kill, and there sure isn’t now.

I couldn’t report her, even if it was my duty or because they’re always prowling
around airports trying to arrest the innocent because catching terrorists is basically
impossible and trying to drives you crazy.

She wore a full denim outfit, and I realized that no one would bother to match
their clothes that perfectly if they also meant to blow up the Philly airport. She
was grateful, or at least polite, and both are unusual things these days. I fantasize
that the mural of flowering trees on the glass partition changes depending on the
life cycles of the real trees in Philadelphia, so it is not a coincidence that it depicts
a tulip tree this week and no other, when they are rich violet and magnificent.

I feel robbed that we have kicked so much out of our lives in order to make room
for panic, and I want her to come back and tell me her real story while we have
tea or wine like they’ve been doing since so long ago that terrorism was just
called might or marriage or war and the Gods would sometimes visit to explain why this is so,

which would take a really long time and would result in arguments so complex
and contradictory even Arjuna pretty much forgot them as soon as it was over.
We’re all prejudiced; I learned that in seventh grade, and from experience and
instinct I know we’re all a bunch of caffeine addicts and drink too much. Why not. It’s ok. I forgive us.

Jasmine V. Bailey’s first collection of poetry, Alexandria, was published by Carnegie Mellon in 2014 and won the Central New York Book Award, and her chapbook, Sleep and What Precedes It, won the 2009 Longleaf Press Chapbook Prize. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, and the current issue of the minnesota review.

Don Thompson

California Aqueduct, Elk Hills Road

The Aqueduct has no politics:
Not a shrug, not a ripple of discontent
hints at its opinions. Water
just flows, submitting only to gravity,
that ancient stare decisis.

Whether it drips from a faucet
all night, keeping someone awake,
or trickles from a spring, half ice,
cold enough to numb lips into silence,
it’s all the same to water—all the same

if you drown or catch a low-hanging branch
and live on for years, dehydrating
until the sixty percent you’re made of
finally dries up,
without a shrug or a ripple.

Redondo Beach

A nondescript finch of some sort
flutters in the shrubbery,
displaying a greenish gray-brown

I’ve seen only in those finger paintings
messed with on my 2nd grade desk
until indecision dissolved them

into that exact murk of failure—
unless of course, a finch
has been dipped in it,

transforming it into the color,
immutable, of pure success,
which is simply being alive.

Stockdale Horse Ranch

Hard to tune out, the insistent pedal tone
of a dove, so annoying,
sustained beneath sparrows and what-have-you

that chirp in random keys without rhythm,
ignoring the metronomic click
of a rainbird watering the pasture.

I prefer the music implied
by the swish of a bay mare’s tail,
andante molto tranqillo e semplice.

Inaudible, of course,
but if you listen into yourself long enough,
sometimes you can hear it.

On the Road to Santa Margarita

The hills keep their distance,
standoffish and dour.
When you drive toward them,
they seem to slip away;
ridges soften rather than coming clear.

But backed against the horizon
with nowhere to go, the hills
finally turn on you, all sharp edges,
shadows brooding in every arroyo,
and gather you in...

Up there hour after hour, alone,
taking the wicked corners too fast,
you become mountain-minded,
reluctant to descend to the lowlands
where your kind exist.

Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a dozen books and chapbooks. For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink (don-e-thompson.com).

Gary Beck

Tidal Movement

When creatures crawled
out of the
extra time
to identify predators,
we'll never know
it was group consensus,
follow the leader,
panicky stampede,
impulse shopping,
but it ultimately
led to me,
so I won't
about turmoil
on the journey.


Urban pigeons
come closer to people
than other birds,
satisfying the need
of many citizens
to feed and talk
to others than themselves,
even let them land
on welcoming bodies,
hosts not realizing
pigeons will be vectors
of Avian flu
that will devastate the land.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when hecouldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Alina Stefanescu

10 Epigrams in Praise of Household Tyrants

after Paavo Haavikko


A screen door
slashes across the space
between screen and
One side of this story
is a garden.


When the tyrant leaves for work
we stand near the door
lips empty as Hollywood holsters
parting weary as the hat tips
in a gritty cowboy western.


Permit the tyrant’s frisks when he must check you for groceries.
Accustom yourself efficient frisk, half-hearted frisk, the frisk
anxious as weaponless ideology. It will feel different each time
what is needed to make him feel safe.

An empty sink is a happy sink.


What he wants is a monument of flesh-struck stone:
a girl frozen on all fours.


How eagerly he greets the baroque of a dress
heavy-brindled. The stained-glass window
of a face beneath a Levantine moon / fleshed
hammock of thighs /
love’s unyielded insolence.


Chorus of laundry drying
inside machines.
Soft roar from behind brick walls for
which the tyrant demands better
ins ula t io n.


Do not give him light to suspect the night sky.
Beware when the moon becomes a petri dish
smeared with samples of other loves.
He declares each wish a toxin.


The tyrant neither squats nor stoops. He sits
in chairs never floored. He expects entertainment—
a dance which compels him to desire her again.
Again. Again. Do it again.


Tender tyrant of the half-lilt heart
which of us needs touching?
Who to spark first is the spanking.

A Ghost Is Not

for my mother, for some ever

A ghost is not like money you put in the bank

to withdraw as needed.

A ghost is not a watercolor painting or a poem

in the margins of your notebook.

Her face is defiant— I’ll race you down the slope starting....... now

— and she may not win

but she will race and she will race and she will

fly with the wind between her teeth.

Certain she will not relinquish the adrenalin

of a fight to the finish.

A ghost cannot be coddled or mollified

like a button-eyed children’s puppet.

A ghost is a person she says over her shoulder,

the slender Rossignol skis throwing white powder

into my eyes like confetti, this movement away obscuring

the path she dares me to follow and now what.

Now how. I am left stranded at the top of the mountain

with no way to imagine going down.

Two Cars

we uncouple
like railway cars
in exposed places
count the links
forged between
a stain and
a shirt.

it takes two
cars to make
a train,
and one stain
in common
to trust.

if we are
color, let
us be

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with her partner and four small mammals. She won the 2015 Ryan R. Gibbs Flash Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Robert Dana Poetry Award. Her poetry chapbook, Objects In Vases, was published by Anchor & Plume in March 2016. She aims for an ontology which would satisfy Hannah Arendt, Norman Manea, and Tom Waits. More online at www.alinastefanescu.com.