The Burden of My Star

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. A finalist for the 2019 Kurt Brown AWP Prize, the 2019 Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, the 2019 Frank McCourt Prize, and the 2019 Streetlight Magazine Poetry Contest, Alina won the 2019 River Heron Poetry Prize. Her writing can be found in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Virga, Whale Road Review, and others. Online at or @aliner.

Alina Stefanescu

The Burden of My Star

after Lucian Blaga

A child swings alone through
the echo of a churchbell.
Wind hovers like a mother, carrying buckets
of sandbox gossip back and forth, the burden of balance.
A child wishes hardest on the stars
she trusts not to hurt her.
If not for the scars on my legs, I’d run back
and tell the girl on the swing
that best friends may lie like angels
until they grow big
and learn to lie like wives.
I pass the burden of my star
from one shoulder to the next
like Lucian Blaga. I am guilty
of wearing the masks that please you,
fashioning glibness like sterile gauze
to stop the blood.
I feel, again, the way you loved me
for never crying, the urge we exploited
within the warm womb of moving trains,
discovering ourselves in tiny villages being demolished.
The ruin of others made us important.
One moment’s chug becomes momentum,
the singe-marks of chains in a churchyard.
I lean back and surrender my balance for a ligature
the wind can’t undo. To know why car alarms howl
like wolves when touched by the full moon’s magnets.


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