"For My Partner, Who Witnessed the Revolution Differently on Primetime" by Alina Stefanescu

A dress is a name
you remember, one way to wind
down before the tumult of targets.
An eye for an eye
is a toothache at
dinner. We rarely talk about

1989 or the revolution
you glimpsed from a couch
in American accents
the Romanian comes off
ridiculous. What took
them so long? is the
last thing you wondered.

The same thing you wonder again.
If your mother wore scrunchies
and unflattering leggings then 1990
was the year she planned after-school
Bible crafts. Gold star stickers
stickers given to boys who
recited certain verses.

I like thinking about you
trying to remember psalms
for tinfoil prizes. I like
to pretend it was different
from how I grew up.
How Mom paid me to
memorize poems by Donne
and Kipling. How she waited
in the living room for me to
say them aloud before guests.

I like thinking how a dress
becomes a name she wore
to the table where nouns
remained mostly foreign objects.
Place settings as situations
we grow through
while family remains
that costume you can’t
take off. The one Halloween
people hold against you.
A revolution you watched on TV
was also the breaths we held back.
The way a word in one language
can be a fabric we lack in anOther.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania, raised in Alabama, and reared by various friendly ghosts. She won the 2015 Ryan R. Gibbs Flash Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Robert Dana Poetry Award. Her poetry and prose can be found in PoemMemoirStory, Shadowgraph Quarterly, Parcel, Noble Gas Quarterly, Minola Review, and others. Objects In Vases, a poetry chapbook, was published by Anchor & Plume in March 2016. A poem from this chapbook, "Oscar Dees, No Apologetics Please", has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Alina currently lives in Tuscaloosa with her partner and four friendly mammals. More online at or @aliner.