top of page
  • Alicia Mountain

Three Poems

Seasonal Allegiance

I am tired of drinking the sapphire cough syrup and also I am tired of coughing.

In the night in the dark I reach for a small glass of water at my bedside and fumble it to the floor. There are shards. It was empty of water. I tell the person in my bed to be careful in the morning, to wear socks.

My syrup dreams of women I know, and we wear nothing and we search for the liquor cabinet that cannot be found. We take turns lying in the lawn. We take turns being lifted from the lawn by each other’s desire, by unseen gusts of want.

In the morning, these words in my head: there is no side-of-the-road in air traffic.

I can’t make sense. I wake up alone. I wonder about the socks. How they made it so easy to slip out muffled, without my waking. How my body could be lifted, even now.

Urgent Urge

The info part of the infomercial

is that your want doesn’t even

know its own name.

Call now and someone will answer

your beckon, will breathe into

the receiver, receive you.

This limited time, offered exclusively

to those who remember being

forgotten in a department store.

Or hiding in the racks, wanting only

to be found and held, wanting only

to terrify your way into her arms.

You don’t have to unhome anymore.

Acquisition is yours. There is nothing


What is shipped and handled is worth

the cost of deliverance, of doormat,

waiting for no one but you.

Exit Ramp Roadkill

Rust belt, bible belt, coal dismay

burns to turn machine gears slow.

Blacktop betraying state lines

in pockmarks spelling out

allocation discontent.

To get to wildlife you cut

through counties that call it game.

The highway patrol was a sheriff

and two deputies, but they

met quotas. Walked right up

to the ledge of power and kicked

rocks over the edge to watch them fall.

Every dynamite hill

wearing a nation’s name,

the dispossessed.

Every empty tunnel

a dead white general.

Alicia Mountain is the author of the collection High Ground Coward (University of Iowa Press), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Thin Fire (BOAAT Press). She is a lesbian poet, a PhD student, and an assistant editor of the Denver Quarterly. Keep up with her at and @HiGroundCoward.

bottom of page