She doesn’t appear in the gold of the first sunset after her death.
I thumb through the kids' ghost stories to strengthen the spirit.
In the stories, all the ghosts have teeth attached to smiles.
Ghost stories give me hope self-help seems to lack.
When I don’t see mom in the moon one month later,
I tear out the pages of the ghost books
and throw paper scraps into a white plastic bag
which I label with a black permanent marker.
Now they are PIECES OF SHIT. Now they
are childhood’s impossible goblin stories.
The ghosts have failed me.
What hope is left and fuck
those who say paying off
your home mortgage is such a nice
way for any mother to go.
Fuck them, I whisper. First.
Who knew what I’d crave the most after she left was fairy dusted?
Who knew the way we wish for ephemeral ghost fingers
to rub angry shoulders and promise faraway things
with Romanian tongue?
Why Are You Crying?
I’m crying because I want people to like me.
Especially women. I want women to like me.
But you don’t care if people like you, he scoffs.
I’m crying because he thinks I don’t care
if women like me and people shoot kids in self-defense.
But this has nothing to do with Baltimore or kids, he says.
I’m crying because the world is a web that words
stumble across and words are nothing like dew on
a web and I am a woman who wants to be liked
but stays home in self-defense.
But you should get out more, he encourages.
I’m crying because he’s encouraging and
at some point encouragement becomes flattery
and there is nothing so lethal among friends
as flattery. Nothing I fear like flattery and
George Zimmerman and all men but also
the women I want to like me.
But you haven’t explained what’s wrong, honey.
I’m crying because the web is a world when
I lose my thread a human touches my arm
and says tear are too much but not enough.
The abundance of our excess, insufficient.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania, raised in Alabama, and reared by the love-ghost of Tom Waits and Hannah Arendt. She lives in Tuscaloosa with her partner and three small native species. Her chapbook, objects in vases, will be published in March 2016 by Anchor & Plume. Find her in Lockjaw, Cider Press Review, Driftwood Press, Rivet, Fiction Southeast, and more online at www.alinastefanescu.com.