Byline, Be Sky

Alina Stefanescu

I meet the birds on theirterrain, the gray of.Chimney swifts smudged, siftedfrom clouds like featheredcinders, all is blurred orwisps of smoke, an attendance.We watch from the roofof Birmingham's tallest building& I imagine a flight withoutknowledge of falling.It may be spring. It may bewind warming a given name.It may be trapped inside[naturalized] this thingI wanted, a motion down-ward, a foot driving stacksof sustained Ds over a piano,the arms of Rilke's terribleangels. Even the holy cannotbe loyal to three flagswithin Thee. I am severaled,torn from my mother's tongue,a world keeps calling wings wrong.Once I ran through high grassto greet a scarecrow, my handsholding a skirt aloft. Now,building, let me go. Osky, make me stop.

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photo of Alina Stefanescu

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) and Dor, which won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize (September, 2021). Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize (April 2018). Alina’s poems, essays, and fiction can be found in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, Poetry, BOMB, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as poetry editor for several journals, reviewer and critic for others, and Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter. She is currently working on a novel-like creature. More online at

cover of the Kenyon Review July/August 2021

July/August 2021

Gambier, Ohio

Kenyon College

The David F. Banks Editor
Nicole Terez Dutton

Managing Editor
Abigail Wadsworth Serfass

Associate Editor
Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky

Poetry Editor
David Baker

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