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Red Paint

/alina stefanescu

If There Are Two Forms of Leaving & One Includes Village Fiddlers

There is no word to measure distance between the violence of local feelings & the memory of a home -land’s rituals, meaning there is no altar without a walk of shame that ends in a wafer. I hate myself for loving what remains separate, the root that formed me, the flower that takes up southern space. Homecoming and homegoing share a spine, share the limpening embrace. An iconostasis relies on memory for faces. Extended family portraits cluster-bomb the wood panel walls of a hallway which binds living to sleeping with no obvious escape. I could cry fire. For nothing is not loss, as loss is not singular —not an instant but continuous rippling off from a lake-plunked stone, a sinking of pebbles, a way.

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. RIBALD, a prose chapbook, is forthcoming from Bull City Press in October 2020. Her writing can be found in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Virga, Whale Road Review, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter, Co-Founder of 100,000 Poets for Change Birmingham, and board member of Magic City Poetry Festival. 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


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