Kimberly Grabowski Strayer

The Peach


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.

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