The Right Light to See the Dust Move

Alicia Mountain

I haven’t flipped the mattress since I bought it,
alone at a Costco, the worst place to be alone.

I haven’t flossed since cramming for
the teeth cleaning I scheduled the week before
my dental coverage would expire.

The guy at TireRama rotated all four
when I came in with a flat in just one—
there was a broken off house key
sticking straight out between the treads.

I should call my grandparents.
I should enjoy yoga.
I should buy a new toothbrush,
one made from recycled yogurt cups.
I should borrow a lawnmower and use it.

At Costco, the employees wouldn’t help
me tie the mattress to my roof due to
liability. I threw a coil of twine over
the car and walked around to pick it up
on the other side, over and over.

I haven’t called my ex-girlfriends in months,
even though we really are friends now.

I haven’t owned a vacuum all my life.

from Issue 29.2

ALICIA MOUNTAIN is the author the collection High Ground Coward (University of Iowa Press), which won the 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Thin Fire (BOAAT Press). She is a queer poet, a PhD student at the University of Denver, and an assistant editor of the Denver Quarterly. Mountain earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Montana. Keep up with her at