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 and biographer.  Co-creator of Poetry in Motion on New York City’s buses and subways, her latest collection of poems is The Analyst (W.W. Norton).  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 The Flower Diary of Mary Hiester Reid:  the Art of Matrimony.