Molly Peacock

November 22, 2019 Peacock Molly


Because other things needed buying,
I stopped shopping for clothes, and it forced me
to the back of the closet, where I threw out
what I didn’t wear till there were spaces
between the hangers. But even the sturdy
expensive things had their wear marks.
Pilling cashmere. Cat hair permanently
woven into knits. Grease-speckled silk.
I touched what I’d wear before I grabbed it.
Felt it before I put my body in it.
Steamed it. Washed it. Laid it flat to dry. Ironed it.
They were themselves, the pants, the blouses,
the lone skirt and few dresses. Some had waited
years to be slipped on like this—to be known.
I knew them. They clung to me. “You’re like us,”
they said. And it was true that I needed ironing
and could not be worn in too strong a light.

Molly Peacock is the author of eight collections of poetry, including The Analyst: Poems and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems. Her poems appear in leading literary journals such as Poetry, The Malahat Review, The Women’s Review of Books, and Plume and are anthologized in The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Former President of the Poetry Society of America and former Poet-in-Residence at the American Poets’ Corner, she is the co-founder of Poetry in Motion on New York’s subways and buses and the founder of The Best Canadian Poetry. Her latest project is Molly Peacock’s Secret Poetry Room, a creative space for first generation college students to write at Binghamton University. Recipient of fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the New York Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Canada Council on the Arts, Access Copyright Canada, the Society for Citizens and Scholars, and the Leon Levy Center for Biography, Peacock is also the author of two biographies about creativity in the lives of women artists: The Paper Garden:Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 and Flower Diary: Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door. From a binational American and Canadian family, she lives in Toronto and teaches at 92NY Roundtable in New York City.