Molly Peacock

Peacock by Tolson low rez copyBIO

Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and the author of The Second Blush and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (W.W. Norton and Company/ McClelland & Stewart). She is also the author of the bestselling biography The PaperGarden:  Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72. Just out in Canada, where Peacock, a dual citizen, makes her home is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions, with illustrations by Kara Kosaka. Ms. Peacok’s website is

A Note from the author:

“Credo” and “Emergency” are two selections from a book-length poem called The Analyst, which, like H.D.’s Letter to Freud, examines the relationship between psychotherapy and art by making a window into one poet’s lifelong conversation with her therapist.


I believe in being killed, and I believe in poetry.
Let’s begin with a word, you say. That word’s not clear.

(I don’t believe you when you say you’ll help me.)
I believe in being killed, and I believe in poetry.

The mouth of the past contorts with uncried tears.
What would it even mean to help me?

At tea a lady says, “Career.”
At home a fist lifts up a glass of beer.

I believe in poetry. I believe in a will to be.
Let’s begin with a word, you say. And I say, “Fear.”



A girl, une jeune fille, washed out the bottles,
rows of smelly amber soldiers.
After school she was the cook, la cuisinière.

She kept his dinner on……….. the stove. Le dîner!
And when he got home,
he threw le diner against the wall.

One night he ripped the legs off all the chairs,
and she fled. Then after he fell asleep,
she crept back to wash the wall

and pull the chair legs into a pile
like bare trees on a hill.
To her sister, la petite soeur,

little kitten he squashed, la petite chat,
she said, “Do your homework.”
Fait tes devoirs. All before maman

came home at midnight.
Years later, when she woke
from a dream of a splintered wood

to choke from a stream of smelly vapor
seeping beneath her apartment door,
then watch it vanish as an amber

sliver of sun slipped through her window,
(it was time for work)
she, still an excellent cook,

alive through her own agency
and living alone, now a teacher, une professeur,
said aloud in the dead cold

of her grown woman’s voice,
Help! Au secours! Her past
at last an emergency.



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