This poem is reprinted with kind permission from X.J. Kennedy's In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus, New and Selected Poems 11955-2007. This and Peeping Tom's Cabin, Comic Verse 1928-2008 contain poems "filled with the wit for which Kennedy is well-known", a quote from Anna Evans' review of the two books, which will appear in the January issue of the Raintown Review,.


for A. M. Juster

Concupiscent, the fireflies cruise
Our twilit lawn. They stay out late
Blinking their signs to advertise

With intermittent lust they blaze
Just for a fortnight's fling, as if
Their code were fixed: Enjoy your days,
Die young and leave a handsome stiff.

One temptress sucks a tourist in
With counterfeit come-hither flashes
Like those of females of his kin,
But in her jaws his hopes turn ashes.

Somehow their incandescent dance
Obscures our dark view of the dark's
Enormity as they advance
By graceful swoops that end in sparks.

Complacently we watch them glow
Like kindly lantern lights that sift
Through palm fronds in Guantanamo
On the torture squad's night shift.

by X.J. Kennedy

X.J. Kennedy has written poetry, children's verse, and fiction as well as text-books in writing and literature. Before becoming a full-time writer, he taught at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Tufts University, Wellesley College, the University of California-Irvine, and Leeds University. He now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife and sometime coauthor, Dorothy M. Kennedy.

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