The gold March dawn
and below my window 
a man carves his car
from the snow heap
plowed up around it.
So easy not to envy
the cold muscled task

but then imagine—
feeling your heartbeat
alive like a chipmunk
at work in your chest,
imagine the whole day
arm-sore and good
with accomplishment,

the day you begin
with heavy breath
and see it linger
outside your body
like a negative of
the dark air cavity
in you like the spirit
in you like the ghost.


Copyright © 2022 by Alicia Mountain. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 3, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is an exercise in re-encountering the familiar. Lately, I’ve been trying to take another look—at poem drafts, at circumstances, at assumption, chores, beliefs. More and more, I have come to understand myself as a draft of a person to which I return and try to see again, anew. Even in the line and intentions struck through, negation is a presence, too. This poem is about externalizing something internal so it can be witnessed. It’s also about allowing the grace and strength of others, along with the mysterious gift of breath, to change me daily.”
Alicia Mountain