Tuesday, 31 January 2023

American Life in Poetry: The Peach

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.


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 suggests 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
By Alice Friman

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?


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

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