The First Time His Face Does It (from Hymns for Patriarchs series)
with the Gettysburg Address, and all the boys
Fourscore and whatever fathers
brought forth, you may be
in a car. Overlooking a meadow.
Seeking stars to recuse speech. Staring
down the sullen stick-shift between you.
And you maybe watch desire
soften the slope of his brow, in
the republic of feeling him
diminish, maybe you hitch curious
mind to his shallow breaths, discover
the gallop of hooves finding a beat.
A new nation, conceived in liberty, the seesaw
of what he wants balanced against a creed,
urging towards need. And you.
And you count the savagery of kisses
tumbling like dice, dedicated to the proposition
that all men are equal in the promise
of play to come. And please. And please
and pleasing thickens the air, layers
lust like thuds in the chest, like hammers
in a forest when you realize
someone is building
a structure inside wilderness
we cannot consecrate to end
what is wild, someone is fashioning a platform
from which to view a man’s face
splintering into ecstasy. And you
and you will help him.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at alinastefanescuwriter.com or @aliner.