The friend

By Marge Piercy b. 1936 Marge Piercy
We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
That’s very nice, he said
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

Marge Piercy, “The friend” from Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982). First appeared in Hanging Loose 5 (1968). Copyright © 1968, 1982 by Marge Piercy and Middlemarsh, Inc. Used by permission of the Wallace Literary Agency, Inc.

Source: Circles on the Water (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Marge Piercy b. 1936

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Love, Relationships, Nature, The Body, Men & Women, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Marge  Piercy

Biography

Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, into a working-class family that had been hard-hit by the Depression. Piercy was the first member of her family to attend college, winning a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan. She received an MA from Northwestern University. During the 1960s, Piercy was an organizer in political movements like the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the movement against the war . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Nature, The Body, Men & Women, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.