The home is those animals who eat and keep trying. Two parents, a little sister, the trusted friendship of crimson azaleas. The hearth
is your native tongue, heating the porch. The horas who rise after sunset, the fire-dances competing with 100-foot magnolias for stature,
for standing above to look downwards. And the children count sheep inside the concussion of solid pink bricks. The house
bent, the house suave as plums who hit the ground before ripening. The home is those useless seeds your mom snuck over an ocean
from Romania: one single tall plum, the single survivor. The tree refused to give fruit if left on a lawn, alone. The baby shipped to grow through the drumbeat
of lawnmowers. The heart is the brick of porch floor, the absent family, the dead voices, gossiping between paper envelopes, abandoned near unopened doors.
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 www.alinastefanescuwriter.com.