Work of the Week: Alina Stefanescu

Little Time

We must go for a walk
in the freshly-washed
world, he says.
We must venture into
the thicket with cacti
in our open corneas.
There is so much to see,
little time.
Little time, trickling from an eave.
Little time, dropping from leaves,
falling,collecting, becoming
serious puddles for
paper boats to cross.
We must build a paper-boat
in the freshly-puddled
world, he says.
We must write our secret
names on the hull.
Little boat, braving the wavescapes.
Little time, before water softens paper.
Was it earlier, a newsman reported
a young mother’s body washed
to shore during the storms.
I imagined her shoes,
little boats.
The newsman spoke to us.
He said: And now, way ahead
of time, she was gone.

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020) and dor, which won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize (September, 2021). Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize (April 2018). Alina’s poems, essays, and fiction can be found in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, Poetry, BOMB, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as poetry editor for several journals, reviewer and critic for others, and Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter. She is currently working on a novel-like creature. More online at

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