Alina Stefanescu



How To Not Say and Keep Saying

How to see this
and not speak it aloud.
The fear puddled on refugee faces.
How sight surges into feelings
we market through Congress.
What comes out
emoticon. Whose
flesh is not a question
of saving face.

And what is a voice
if not a moving tunnel
where we find one another
afraid of the dark.
A tone is a hard-struck
flint. Whose courage to see
is seeded by encouragement.
Seethroughlook. Which
is what if not a blanket,
knit promise of warmth
farther along.

What can we say if not
I’m sorry. If not
for the freezer of fear
which leaves us afraid
to trust the light. The way out.
What part of your glock
is courage when all
I smell is fear. Clench-
fisted. The click of angry
men we trust inside dark
American night.

What on earth is a cinema seat
anchored by air conditioning.
And what is a hand, anyway
if not a touch
within the tunnel.
What except a solid
physics and the voice
which says only
and again.


Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and raised in Alabama where she resides with her partner and three small native species. Her fiction is forthcoming in PoemMemoirStory, Rivet, Sandy River Review, Reservoir, and The Zodiac Review, among others. Her poetry chapbook, objects in vases, will be published by Anchor & Plume in March 2016. More online at