Molly Peacock is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems, published by W.W. Norton and Company and the writer/actor of a one-woman show in poems, “The Shimmering Verge.” Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, as well as The Best of the Best American Poetry and The Oxford Book of American Poetry. She is also the author of a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece, published by Riverhead Books, and the editor of a collection of essays on privacy, The Private I: Privacy in a Public World published by Graywolf Press. She is a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. Former President of the Poetry Society of America, she was a co-creator of the Poetry in Motion program on New York City’s subways and buses. Then she served as Poet-in-Residence at the American Poets’ Corner, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Now she lives in Toronto with her husband Michael Groden where she is Poetry Editor of the Literary Review of Canada.

Molly Peacock's site

Two Poems by Molly Peacock

The Flaw

The best thing about a hand-made pattern
is the flaw.
Sooner or later in a hand-loomed rug,
among the squares and flattened triangles,
a little red nub might soar above a blue field,
or a purple cross might sneak in between
the neat ochre teeth of the border.
The flaw we live by, the wrong bit of warp,
now wreathes among the uniform strands
and, because it does not match,
makes a red bird fly,
turning blue field into sky.
It is almost, after long silence, a word
spoken aloud, a hand saying through the flaw,
I’m alive, discovered by your eye.

[Appears in High Horse, an anthology of Spalding University faculty and originally appeared in River Styx magazine]

Why I Am Not A Buddhist

I love desire, the state of want and thought
of how to get; building a kingdom in a soul
requires desire. I love the things I've sought—
you in your beltless bathrobe, tongues of cash that loll
from my billfold— and love what I want: clothes,
houses, redemption. Can a new mauve suit
equal God? Oh no, desire is ranked. To lose
a loved pen is not like losing faith. Acute
desire for nut gateau is driven out by death,
but the cake on its plate has meaning,
even when love is endangered and nothing matters.
For my mother, health; for my sister, bereft,
wholeness. But why is desire suffering?
Because want leaves a world in tatters?
How else but in tatters should a world be?
A columned porch set high above a lake.
Here, take my money. A loved face in agony,
the spirit gone. Here, use my rags of love.

[from Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (W.W. Norton and Company)]