Ruby Roses, Kiss Goodbye

You, who saved me from hardening, 

let me not harden now


but walk into the world, disarmed

yet escorted by these emissaries:


two ruby rose earrings, in echo 

of years ago, when I passed my hand,


arm brushing my ear as I sobbed, 

back to you, behind me in your chair


with your notes, glasses and clock.

You took my hand and brushed 


my hair over my temple.

After each hour I always bought 


some little thing. Today those earrings

— two ruby rose hard things


remind me not to harden.

Let me feel naked without them.

Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and biographer. Her most recent collection of poems is The Second Blush and her latest nonfiction is The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72. Forthcoming is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions with illustrations by Kara Kosaka. She is Series Editor of The Best Canadian Poetry. Jason Guriel holds her poetry under his microscope in Molly Peacock: A Critical Introduction.