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9: Alicia Mountain

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

REWINDING THE LESBIAN SEX SCENE ON A FLIGHT FROM DENVER

by Alicia Mountain

There were years I feigned sleep to close the eyes of desire.
Years I tried to see truth only in periphery,
years I tried to look anywhere else.

…………..The entangled couple beside me,
…………..their sock feet
………….………….………….…….the cloud

…………..caught in their small view
…………..of the open sky
………….………….………….…….wisping itself apart.

There were years I stayed a satellite far above the earth.

I am still looking over my shoulder
for whoever whispered my shame to me.

I am watching them walk down the aisle,
I am trying to keep my elbows and knees
…………..out of their way.
I am reclining my seat every inch
………….………….………….…….of unconfinement
………….………….………….…….it will yield.

…………..Which is not much.
So, I am held close to this reflection.
…………..Spit slick lips and
…………..hands in hair and
…………..reaching inside and
…………..what I know well—
…………..head out of the frame.
My gaze held unbroken,
………….………….by their bodies.

Who said you can’t drag your finger back across the screen of what you want?
Who said you can’t do it over again? And again?
Who said you can’t ask for more?

Who guilted my fingerprints into anything but a caress
………….………….………….………….…………….. smudged across our surface?

Whoever you are—whoever you were—look over my shoulder.

Watch me fall in love, seeing myself.
In economy, in the thin air,
…………..seatbelt at my waist
………….………….… ..like I am something
………….………….… ..to protect for this duration,
………….………….… ..like her hands on my hips,
………….………….… ..………….………….… ..……….pulling.

 


Copyright © 2020 by Alicia Mountain. This poem was originally published in the American Poetry Review (2020).


About the Author

alicia mountainAlicia Mountain is the author of Four in Hand (BOA 2023). Her debut collection, High Ground Coward (Iowa 2018), won of the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and American Poetry Review. Mountain was a Clemens Doctoral Fellow at the University of Denver and the 2020-2021 Artist in Residence at the University of Central Oklahoma. She serves on the board of Foglifter, a LGBTQIA+ journal based in the Bay Area. Mountain lives in New York City, where she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writer’s Foundry MFA program at St. Joseph’s University in Brooklyn.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day: Lineage Edition


Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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