“Pacifier” by X. J. Kennedy

[private]her night thoughts

My baby wails. That I may rest

I offer him a rubber breast

And soon as waves by oil suppressed,

He quiets. An underhanded trick

Yet practical and politic-

He cries for bread. I give him brick,

But when night circles round to four

I open to him like a door

And yield him all he wants and more.

As old wives say, it may be true

That love too frequent can undo.

Sometimes give just the likes of you.

Your lover’s tide may rise in flood

When there’s no answer in your blood.

Then let that raging bull chew cud

And go to sleep. Let him return

When in coincidence you burn.

Fire lingers near a kindled urn

And lives to burn again and spreads

On real as on imagined beds

Held fast by things that stand in steads.[/private]

About Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber is a poet and critic. His books include Digressions, Wily Apparitions, and Bell Buoys, as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His poems and reviews have appeared in the Hudson Review, the Southern Review, Agenda, the Formalist, and many other publications, as well as on-line journals and anthologies. A song cycle, Zeno’s Arrow, based on seven of his poems, was composed by Paul Alan Levi and premiered in 2001.
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