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American Life in Poetry: ‘The Peach”

Kwame Dawes

By Kwame Dawes

Alice Friman, in her emotionally complex poem, “The Peach,” describes what appears to be the end of a relationship. The nature of the relationship is not clear, though Friman’s images of stickiness and running juices suggest a tactile sensuality that stands in contrast to the final image of snowdrifts and numbness. It is a short, compact, narrative that ends with a delicately captured disquiet, captured in the question that ends the poem.

The Peach

I stood on a corner eating a peach,

the juice running down my arm.

A corner in Pergos where he left me,

Pergos where I could catch a bus.

What was I supposed to do now

alone, my hands sticky with it

standing on the corner where he

left me a Greek peach, big as a softball,

big as an orange from Spain, but it

wasn’t from Spain, but from Pergos,

where I could see his red truck

disappear around a corner, not

my corner but further up the street,

and only later, months later, back

home when the trees were slick

with ice, their topmost branches

shiny as swords stabbing the heart

out of the sky, the earth chilled under

snowdrifts or as we tend to say, sleeping.

But I don’t know, frozen maybe, numb?

Poem copyright 2021 by Alice Friman, “The Peach” from The Georgia Review Vol LXXV No. 3. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

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