gospel of positive thinking
The boy stands near the model train station. His grandpa says my leg hurts. The boy realizes this pain might be a blood clot working its way toward a lung, become an embolus. His grandpa is dying. Like in the story. The boy remembers his brother saying things could always be worse. For example, the boy could hate train sets and still play with them. He could not love his mother. He could watch a puppy press its paw through the space under a door for hours.
L5-S1. The disc herniated in my lower back. Because I could not press pause in the moment. Because the moment made noise, I wanted to feel the way noise turns inside the bones of a wrist. Because I wanted to ride my naked boyfriend in his tiny red hatchback, my knee bruised from patterned slamming against the stick shift. Because I wanted to know better than how it feels to be known. Because the shadow of a nodding donkey head rose up and down, up and down, stars and oil derricks squabbled for space near the airport. I wanted to keep moving. Because pain wasn’t as interesting as mining the seam of pure motion, I never had a torch song. Because I promised the girl in the hospital bed again and again, I crossed my heavy dark heart and swore pain was just a cheap wah pedal. Not a real Crybaby. Pain would never sate her hunger for life.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at http://www.alinastefanescuwriter.com or @aliner.