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 a widely anthologized poet as well as a biographer.  Co-creator of Poetry in Motion on New York City’s buses and subways, and inaugurator of The Best Canadian Poetry, she has written seven collections of poems, the latest of which is The Analyst (W.W. Norton and Biblioasis, Canada).  A Leon Levy Fellow, she is the author of the biography The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 and is now at work on Flower Diary: Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Manages a Threesome.