And so the spotlit Fight of the Centurystarts slowly—timid tapping airborne handslike featherweight beesbobbing betweenapricot tree and apple.All this, the work of a singular bounty,the out-of-reach hound crowd,their howling sound.Surveil and surveil and survive,keep alive by footworkthat writes l u n g e— and retreat l u n g e— and retreatIn capitol, in seminary, in extant sundown townwhose fist is raised?Whose liver-spotted hand smears ointment in the corner?
Copyright © 2018 by Alicia Mountain
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
2017 Iowa Poetry Prize
“Alicia Mountain looks at every tiny thing very closely, and in doing that conveys the big picture of a vast inner life with marvelous clarity and depth. Her voice is intimate, brash, always precise, heartbreaking in both its vulnerability and its authority. These poems are carried away by both lust and intelligence. This poet understands desire: its expression lets loose while giving form. This book doesn’t detour, it goes right to and through the overpowered, relentless heart of its speaker and the reader is struck through too, and good.”
—Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize
“High Ground Coward is raw and intimate. Alicia Mountain looks at what she loves and that foreground blurs into a backdrop of practical constraints and injustices. The poems press at those boundaries where desire starts to interfere with the opportunities of others and cast an unsparing eye on the cost. This is a book of hard, shifting, dreamlike gems.”