Alina Stefanescu

Three Poems

Poem to First Love

How could I forget your sonorous touch, Sam?
When you fell upon me near the tree, I had no resistance
built up against love's virulence. In that moment, I was
novel. The first thou laid over my wrist like a stone
carnation, charming, unbearable. To be snapt and
yet sinking. Surely no one had yet been so thou to
you, as none had been thee yet to me. I was 17 and you
were giddying me towards the steamed encounter.
My family hated what loomed between us in dreams,
in dreaming—I was gone to them completely. Gone as
the swound, Sam. Spired in the gallop of your breath's
pacing. I don't think I ever came back; or — when it ended,
I was another person, a different sort of creature, this
raw, anticipative thing wrothed in having been read
though not written. Coleridge, would that we'd never
met! I would not be the lunatic of arcana, the raving
notebook of love's depravity, this Thee to your
Thou, betrothed to poetry.

--after Matthew Yeager

Dear B— would that you hadn't unlatched the symbols

When Thom Gunn admired
the hummingbirds giving blow-jobs,
he did so in a letter to a friend.

Gunn didn't drag their slim beaks
into the room of the poem where beards
and ears judge our exposed orifices.

I am over. Are we closer
now. I am assuming you know
of the pink whale I painted
on the cover of our shared notebook.

It needed marking.
It needed me to leave

the wee words and stroam
the alleys between vacant warehouses,
to heed the birdsong of idling trucks.

I think everything is beaked
if you let me touch it

amply. I wrote three
words on my wrist: alone,

alone, alone. Behind the
assembled dumpsters,
the cold hunch of green mettle

and the hundred-studded dandelions
raising their yellow pricks
to cover the meadow in eyelets.

Of Dignity

My husband is brilliant & statuesque
when he does not speak.

He poses like remorseless lede
on the ripped-up red chaise between towers of books & dead hydrangeas.

Some flowers don't smell when they rot, which reminds me
of Wittgenstein's Eastern Front diary — or the war between dying & writing
& masturbation, the question of suicide —
the way it just sits there.

That tweed hat on the floor
with its jutting lip, the hardness
of an I who'd rather touch you than it — the valor
drafted to fit the worn silence.

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