Hi! I’m Alina Stefanescu, and I can’t wait to read your writing this weekend. I have a new poetry collection, Dor, that focuses on longing, loss, and love. I’m not afraid of sentiment, feeling, emotion, or darkness. The conditions this weekend are simple: write your heart out, don’t punish yourself for queering words or genres, and don’t limit yourself to ideals of perfection.

Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions is an entire book of poems composed from questions.

When it comes to death, when it comes to dying, I have so many questions.

As I curl on the bed, missing my mother, my body takes the shape of a question-mark, a fetal position. Funny how the word fetal describes the body’s querulous pose. Funny how birth and death exist in the same vulnerable proximity.

Who wakes up when the sun falls asleep on its burning bed? Neruda asks.

What I love about questions is how they give us so much in taking away, in changing what we expect to receive. A question unites supplication and awe in the same breath.

I suspect awe is part of any story we tell about grief, or any dialogue we begin with the missing. What could be more unbelievable than death? Is there anything else that haunts us more than the knowledge of an ending? In the death of a loved one, we meet our own death’s possibility; we crawl around it and try to get closer to pay our respects. But the line between respect and terror is so slight when we’re looking down from the edge.