Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 30
Autumn, 2018

Featured video, Micro Asemic Film 4 by Federico Federici.

Alina Stefanescu

Six Things You Can't Give Up

After Dorothy Allison.

There are six things you can't give up and one is poetry. An outlet is not less real or more object than a socket is a subject. Assume shock feels natural in this condition. There are six things you can't forsake including the girl that breaks the mirror. Not the girl who looks in the mirror and whimpers, plans, arranges, tweaks, erases. A mirrored modification is a call and response we indulge with painted glass. A modification prompted by mirror tastes like a fairy tale, a bedtime story, a commodification in the classroom, a shoe bridging cracks in the sidewalk. If a man says he likes it, make us wonder what it means to say: I did it for me. Six things including poetry and broken glass you can't give up the rage that marginalizes, warm lava of rage dripping down your throat, stranded in the outskirts of perky, the road less travelled is the one you take, possibly feisty, mostly uncomfortable. What keeps you from belonging is that serious voice, the outsider perspective, the screen door you slam rather than accept the worst world we can make. Vaclav Havel claims we are all guilty. We all want a slice of the cake. The blood on our hands, more than menses. You can't stop dissenting contra despair, this irate belief we can do better. Six things you must keep. Six things including poetry, broken mirror, hot tamale, and a mother that said people think what they think and you might as well accept it. Might as well take off your dress and stare at the sky. Skinny-dip your way through a summer night's swollen ardor, her voice calling you from the black water. If you only live once, then why are you waiting? Six things you can't forsake including poetry, shattered glass, scalded tongue, beloved mother, and sound of your name in Romanian. American may be the language of everyday life but love is foreign and toasty hell. Certain tales need the coddle of mother-tongue to tell them. Your American man-handles the impoverished. A lie is what we do to keep a safe space for patrirachs. Six things and not one is a land.

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online and others. She serves as Poetry Editor of Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. Her first fiction collection, 'Every Mask I Tried On', won the Brighthorse Books Prize. You can also find her at Twitter.