Two Years after Our Dog, Pinka, Got Hit by a Car on Halloween and Died Before Our Eyes as the Kids Howled in Ghost Costumes on the Front Lawn

Alina Stefanescu
| poetry


We babysit two guinea pigs named Bitch and Luther.
You dream Pinka went on tour with Metallica. I can’t

look at October grass without gagging. Someone
retrace our grins to give back the night I dressed up as

Emma Goldman. What line did we cross in letting her in?
When someone says puppies, Max cringes. Milla hopes

dogs have a heaven without cars and humans. Micah knows
love is only here for a minute before the giddy retirees

run it over. An arpeggio scalds the throat. I was ten
when the bully confessed an old man hurt him. Suffering

begs the question of cruelty, or which egg hatched first.
You make a nest to draw robins closer. We house-sit

three hens. The kids learn to swim. We coddle a school
of pet spiders. We keep a bowl stocked with vociferous rocks

and bogged marvels. A window opens on the poem’s accident:
you say each costumed creature must find words

to placate their beast. We tell ourselves plants talk. I cannot.

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama. Recent books include Ribald (Bull City Press, 2020) and Dor (Wandering Aengus Press, 2021). Her writing can be found in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, Poetry, BOMB, Crab Creek Review, and others.

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