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.
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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