Alicia Mountain


Purpose Is the Body and the Un-body

My war could be a silent one
dressed in hooded vestments,
violent only in a quick vow
of refusal:

My rage will be my own and held
warm against my chest. Will not be
spoken for. Will be chanted hand
in hand with joy.

Fight strips the delicate sacredness
from ending. Paints you in colors.
Leaves you half-dead.

Let light cut a hole in the roof,
stillness dig a tunnel to the safe house.
Silence holds you like two boxers
in love, swinging at each other.
          It won’t desert you when you need a war.




                        After Mary Ruefle

Did you wait for hours at arrivals?
Did you curse when you got back in the car?
Did you eat an apple? Did you eat its core?
Did you drive to Mexico out of spite?
Did you get beat up in the water and left for dead?
Did you get a flat? Did you have a spare?
Did you listen to Rumours on repeat?
Did you elaborate?
Did you think about stealing a horse?
How long did you stand by the barbed-wire fence
picking out the one you’d take?
Did you strip the bed? Did you tip the maid?
Did you imagine remembering a birthday
would be like an old kiss?
Did you measure twice and cut once?
Did you trespass like you used to?
Did you carry the cassette for years?
Have you quit sleeping in other people’s clothes?
Did you go blind, just for a moment, in the floodlight?
Did you stop to taste the gravel in my driveway?
Can you smell the silence on my breath?



Orange Grove and a View of the Pacific

Wings inside a window frame.
The dishtowel that held a bird
humming in my hands, Lily
keeping the chair steady.

Lily in a belly shirt before
one of us took it off.
This used to be a dress,
she said, I made it.

Lily’s hair falls in the way
famous people move
their bodies.

From the guestroom I
can hear the ocean
gasp. Sunscreen and salt
smell. My name sounds like
yes, sounds like a lost dog.

Emily Gilbert