I Must Have Learned This Somewhere
Molly Peacock, Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002): 157.
1I loved an old doll made of bleached
2wooden beads strung into a stick figure.
3When the string was pulled, the tautened limbs
4reached their full extent, and a human figure,
5stiff with rigor mortis, rose up.
6When the string was let go, the doll collapsed
7into a heap more lifelike, though it missed
8its spinal chord of string. I spent hours trying
9to prop it up to look more human without
10pulling the string, but it sat in my hands,
11bent, uncontrolled in a muscular fit
12or a spasm of fear. And so for myself,
13collapsed in a tangled necklace,
14anger painting my stiff wooden face.
15Yet now my life can hold me in its hands
16as long ago I coaxed the doll in my palms
17to try to sit lifelike there. My mother's hands
18must long ago have offered the same balm
19though I took her for an operator
20holding my string. How else could I store
21such an idea of comfort as I
22gave the doll, so material was its cry?
Take Heart (1989)
RPO poem Editors:
Copyright 2002 Molly Peacock: Cornucopia W. W. Norton. Permission to reproduce must be obtained from the publisher.