Alina Stefanescu

Among the Lichenologists

Among the lichenologists,
I am less provocative than
mottled pink fluff on a rock.

Lichenologists love me for sitting
and staring, my eyes distributing generosity
to unmoving, insensate objects.

No lichenologist is disraptured
when the blue plumage of a catbird
makes me scream what a king!

No rock flies off as a result
of my vocalizations, which is why
the lichenologists love me
more than the birders
for whom I pose problems.

Arriving without binoculars,
burdened by large enthusiasm-buds,
my volume aligned at natural orgy pitch,
the birders maintain a healthy distance.

I perch near some lichen
and drop crumbs
for non-existent pigeons which is
always the right thing to do in a book.
The birders reserve their words
for staccato whispers.

This is why I hoot and holler
when spotting the obscene scarlet
underpants of the painted bunting,
the rare bird I scared away
before the birders could
humiliate it with their polite,
conquering checkmarks.


My Heart Like A Keg Stand

Of course. My mind like mudded
creek water telling my daughter that
stuff we feel dribbles out. Life
keeps happening. There is gas-station
scotch the color of rust in the
hotness that leaves weeds lustrous.
There is tension between
Mahler dusk and Kakfa night
with no helping manual. You may
wake up flushed, the rumor
of wild poppies in a ditch
throbbing intensely. You may be
the pulse of the party. There
isn’t a single trail forward on the fork
of bored tongues. What’s hidden
comes out gurgling, burbling,
sloshing from the tap on Richard’s patio.
And my eyes like six ravenous horse-
flies. My eyes buzzed by the spillage,
my thighs soaked in the Bud
and my heart (my heart) like a
keg stand.

Alina Stefanescu                            

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several mammals. 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 proud 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