Fear Has No Hospice by Alina Stefanescu

Alina Stefanescu is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.


In my terror-hemmed flesh. The
wince against their raised voices of
desperate sirens, careful guarding
of pulse from impatient ambulance.

Fears keep folding and holding me
while cars wait for normal patterns
to resume. Panic is the metaphysics
of knowing anything may be normal
en route to normalization.

An unworded dream: discovering you,
the man I love, in the lobby of frightened
husbands who learn the lingo of cancer
to buy time for their wives’ lives.
The worst would be watching you

lose me. The gnaw of that knowing
embrace as it leans into sterile hallways,
when all I want is to hold you through
harmless traffic. I want never to see

the wreck, the woe we marry into, a
language joining wilderness, magic lanterns,
flowering dogwoods, Coltrane’s slow
homage, the hushed voices used to explain
blooming & bondage & terminal pain.

Alina Stefanescu
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama. Her poems and prose are recent or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, Prairie Schooner, NELLE, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor of Pidgeonholes, President of the Alabama State Poetry Society, and co-founder of the Magic City Poetry Festival. Her first poetry chapbook, Objects in Vases (Anchor & Plume Press, 2016) won the ASPS Poetry Book of the Year Award. Her first poetry collection, Stories to Read Aloud to Your Fetus (Finishing Line Press, 2017) included Pushcart-nominated poems. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and was published in May 2018. Find more of Alina’s work online or on twitter.

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