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,



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 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.