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Alina Stefanescu

sugarbaby somebody

For something to become a carcass, evisceration is involved.

At the small veteran’s memorial near the town’s dying mall, I describe war to children who have already seen it. On primetime war is clean. They are surprised to find the soldiers have nicknames like “Spud” and “Sugarbaby.”

When they read the words aloud, I can’t help picturing a happygo luckydragshow in which each male listed on the dark marble plaque is aping something less rigid than the word Masculinity.

It’s a deadly performance that ends in a monument and a coffin and usually nothing as complete as a carcass.

We discuss conflict between nations— international conflict— as a carload of teens drives past, slowing just long enough to honk and scream, “Hey MILFFFFF.”

Also, “when’s the last time you got fucked?”

Because a woman doesn’t protest if she gets it.

The kids look up alarmed. I tell them not to worry— it’s a rhetorical question. Like politics. The performance of masculinity recedes amid car horns and traffic. We leave a fistful of golden dandelion flowers near the center of the monument and walk back to the car. The sun warms our back. I’m sorry, I whisper to no one in particular. Traffic, the wind, a whipper-snapping flag. But there is shame for what we’ve become. People who leave anonymous flowers.

A mother and her children. Some body that isn’t getting served.

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and raised in Alabama. Her most recent poetry project, Ipokimen, is available from Anchor & Plume Press (November 2016). These pieces are from an unpublished chapbook titled, Coliva. A coliva is a traditional Romanian cake which one bakes on certain days to commemorate the death of a loved one (in this case, a mother).