Molly Peacock

The Plum
October 3, 2012 Peacock Molly

The Plum

 

A teacher I loved

refused me a favor,

 

outraged I’d asked.  His voice

had the squeal of a piglet,

 

wiggling before his slaughterer,

me, only an attendant daughter.

 

I looked down half-expecting to be

covered in animal blood

 

though it was an office,

not an abbatoir. Or a boudoir.

 

Never a drop

of sexuality between us.

 

But now a hint of an abandoned

courtesan in her open robe

 

breasts drooping, unshowered,

unpaid.

 

More appalled at my surprise

than at his meanness,

 

I went still,

still as the young girl awakened

 

inside the disheveled woman,

her girl’s surprise

 

like the briefest blizzard

freezing blossoms on the trees.

 

Her hurt,

a fruit

 

after sad agricultural news

of a season of low yield.

Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and biographer. Her latest collection is The Analyst (W. W. Norton), poems that tell the story of a decades-long patient-therapist relationship that reverses and continues to evolve after the analyst’s stroke and reclamation of her life through painting.