Dorianne Laux

Still Life- Fruit 1855, Severin Roesen, American

Bread and Peaches

Remember your first peach? 
How the knife slid right through 
to the pit, how you worked
the blade around it 
until the perfect halves
fell away from the embrace
like two lovers after sex,
their soft parts still oozing 
with sticky juice. And what 
a moment ago seemed
so warm and inseparable,
is now susceptible to the air’s
rivers of chill, the cloudy sky,
their breaths caught
on the cold, the blanket 
pulled close to cover
the gods of their bodies
which moments ago 
had imploded like stars–
the pips of her nipples
once again alone, his penis
receding, his sweet sac 
relaxing.  Years from now
you will remember this
as your husband kneads
his first loaf of bread,
bakes it in an oven, the scent 
of yeast and decency rising,
pulls it swollen and golden
from the heat, holding it
out to you on a platter 
like the ring he gave you
that you’ve never once
removed, the skin beneath it
untouched by sun.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Dorianne Laux’s most recent collection is Only As The Day Is Long: New and Selected, W.W. Norton. She is also author of The Book of Men, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize and Facts about the Moon, winner of the Oregon Book Award.  She teaches poetry at North Carolina State and Pacific University. In 2020, Laux was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

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Spring 2021