2019 Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry:

Alycia Pirmohamed

Tonight, I am all joint and animal dark. My heel blots out the moon, 
          vanishes the small nod of light. And yes, 
I prayed today, verging into my bismillah before settling 
                    on the broken. 

I stoop into my longings, plot a seed in every crevice. Last week, 
          I titled another page with my body 
                    and surrendered every bending, splitting line of myself 
to the making. 

When we refer to plants, we call this positive phototropism, 
                    a body rivering toward the light. 
I want to river toward the light. I want to lean my neck toward 
          a thing until I, too, become ism, 

scientific and named into truth. 
          Today, I walked through a dream that wasn’t mine, and I 
                    thought of you waiting at the end of it, 
as if to gather me, 

and maybe that’s just the kind of woman I am—no matter 
          how many times I halve the moon, or find myself in a room 
without a window, I know Allah 
                    sees everything, every hand planting something new, 

every metaphor for the tree it becomes. And, yes, 
          I prayed today, but planting my palms together has never 
                    felt like blossoming up the side of a mountain. 
The only time these hands have ever flowered, 

have ever been used for something good, 
                    was that spring at Yamnuska, where we found a clear, 
blue door of glacial water, and I walked right through 
          your reflection.