Alina Stefanescu

The Krakow Nude

The framed photo used to hang
in the hall of my single-mom apartment:
hair loose, lips lit by laughter, me naked
but for a man's white cotton undies
& arms angled like unmapped pyramids
behind my head. In my apartment
black mold lined each air vent like velvet
& valiant rats scattered their marble
feces across the floor. I read them like
runes or coffee grounds back then
my husband was just a friend
who came over, drank whiskey,
watched me blend baby food, talking
smack to my toddler, acting shocked
by the Krakow nude I kept. I kept
& keep thinking it was hot & I'm not
sorry & now is now the opposite
of then when it was summer & I was
younger than freedom in Eastern Europe.
I was splendid, the rapt owner of raw,
swollen breasts that could overflow
goblets. I was pregnant & plotting
how to escape the unwanted parts
I was not-yet; the abortion or the
intentional miscarriage. I wore
the plenitude of crimes on my chest
like little bullets that missed me
by an inch.

Red Chair With Potential by Alina Stefanescu

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Her writing can be found in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, Virga, Whale Road Review, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, Poetry Editor for Random Sample Review, Poetry Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Co-Director of PEN America's Birmingham Chapter. She was nominated for 5 Pushcart Prizes by various journals in 2019. A finalist for the 2019 Kurt Brown AWP Prize, Alina won the 2019 River Heron Poetry Prize. She still can't believe (or deserve) any of this. More online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com.