My lover has to leave the room
when I eat a ripe peach. It sounds like you’re biting
into a human heart. I’ve been having trouble living
with myself. But this is beauty—that a human heart
might make a recognizable sound when bitten
into. And so sweet. I’ve never been good
at waiting. For the peach to ripen. I need to eat it
the moment I buy it—or never at all. There is no God,
only time. Eat it right off the conveyor belt. I used to
bury each pit in the patch of dirt beside
my childhood home. I thought any seed could grow
anywhere. I turn off all the lights and close
the curtains. I’ve been having trouble.
I haven’t even bought a peach in a long time.
I send him a video of a blanched peach
and a woman’s hands parting the skin away,
slipping it like silk. This scares him.
I’ve been having trouble living
with myself. Peaches have flesh more
than any other fruit does—I bite it away.
I eat everything but the pit. I try to bite
the pit. I want a metaphor for staying alive
even when you don’t want to. A dead girl
does not look like she’s sleeping—I’m tired
of this metaphor. I overhear a mother
telling her baby no biting. The baby laughs
and laughs. The mother repeats it until she cries.
We call it flesh because there’s something inside.
I want that to count. I’m not dead
when I’m sleeping. I’m having trouble
living with that. It’s not just a matter of moving,
or even continuing to grow. The only god is time,
I’m not sure what that tastes like. I know the soft
things are most fleeting. Inside is not a seed
but a stone. Inside is both seed and stone.
Kimberly Grabowski Strayer is a poet and horsewoman from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she received her B.A. in English Writing from Kalamazoo College. She holds an MFA in poetry from The University of Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared in Superstition Review, Midwestern Gothic, Pretty Owl Poetry, 45th Parallel, and others. Her chapbook, Afterward, is available from Dancing Girl Press.