6 Things That Suddenly Matter

6 Things That Suddenly Matter

Alina Stefanescu



The dryer emits a shrill, rodent-style squeak that precedes a period of silence. The sound resembles the screech of a child before refusing to speak without intervention by specialists. Because the dryer is unlike our son, who requires a regimen of speech therapy in order to be appreciated by fellow mammals, I think we should stop paying pros and purchase a new one.

2. XY

I'm not talking about our son.


If the boy wants a pink soccer ball, who are we to police and adjust his preference? I'd never have married if I'd known how much gendered typecasting takes place in ranch-house kitchens. You are my wife and I am your husband. This is not a referendum on my vagina so much as a question about manners of speaking. Let the boy have his outrageous soccer ball. He deserves it. He is different from the dryer in that he is not a machine. No matter what they say about autism. Maybe we should try to sell it.

He is different from the dryer in that he is not a machine.


I don't want to choose between a marriage and a dryer. And I'm not as blonde as I look on the holiday card. I know you whisper on the cell phone because the shame of not quite saying equals the dread of saying too much. Dude/darling, it's your turn to man the parent-teacher conference.


And you promised. Backing out is one way to open a door, assuming knobs keep fingerprints, assuming hands hold us to something. When opening the door suggests you are leaving the room but intent to leave is not what you have words for. Action is easy when explanation is ineffable. Who wrestles with angels in a three-piece suit and has the nerve to describe it? See last week's dry-cleaning bill.


You shouldn't have purchased the roses. It's off-key in context. What we have here is a prom carnation where you know what to expect at the end of the night. If you're sober enough to ask. Tell your son life is a bowl of cherries. Tell your friends we divorced over the moody dryer. Tell your lover it ended because we couldn't agree on who would play devoted wife.


Alina Stefanescu is the Co-Organizer and Founder of 100,000 Poets for Change Birmingham; Organizer for Magic City Poetry Festival; Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes; Publicity Manager and Board Member for Alabama Writer's Conclave; President of Alabama State Poetry Society; Organize of Writer's Resist Tuscaloosa; Member of Sister City Spoken Word Collective; Avid Tree-Hugger; Indivisible Stalagmite; Woman in Pajamas Raising Her Fist and Screaming at Folks Who Drive Too Fast Down the Neighborhood Street

Illustration by Jazzmyn Coker.

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