Alina Stefanescu

I Nominate the Magnolia as Sexiest Tree
Forget the stories of fairy-tailed monsters
that spooked you. The wolf 
of local women's eyes is the one who will eat you for brunch with ambrosia
salad. There is no forest outside 
the tradition's silk tent: an alien must wed a southern man to keep the south in her 
mouth from losing the ballpark. I wear a skirt to seem 
worthy of wind lifting it skywards. I practice kissing 
the trunk's shoulder. I plant a tiny magnolia in 
the middle of my middle daughter's 
name so none can deny her

I Nominate the Linden to Continue Its Service As Tree of Longing & Aromatic Futility
             The boundaries of the soul and the boundaries of countries do not overlap. 
            (Ewa Lipska)
The battle between linden and kudzu
begins early. Those who know me 
know lindens line the streets of my ink.
Summer looms every scent into raiment. I let this dress 
me. So you knew where I had been that night in Bucharest
when the songs of street violins turned ruinous.
Maybe dimming matters. Maybe light is a
pre-existing condition for love, an auspice of longing: 
remembering your hands on this body in hospital bedding, 
your belief pain might render me faithful. 
I trust nocturnes, the arms of old trees, the verb
allegiance nestling close to allegation. Like the promise, 
a pledge seeds its end in asphalt, concrete, there is no word for 
the worthiness. I could not be. Cancel the stars.
Cancel the eyes yet glued to them.

I love nominations. I love how the verb to nominate comes to us from Latin, meaning  “to name, call by name, give a name to” but also to “name for office.” I love trees and I would nominate these valiant, silent witnesses for Pushcart prizes if that were possible–if we believed trees could be poets, or if trees gave a damn about winning. So these poems emerged from the soil of what trees see. In a series of limns. In trying to imagine. In wanting to abolish silence, which may be a personal theme.

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). dor, a poetry collection, is forthcoming from Wandering Aengus Press in July 2021. Alina’s writing can be found (or is forthcoming) in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, and others. More online at