From the crib, she bleats my name
like a wounded sheep, Mama, Mama,
in her soft whimpers. She says,
pa-pa broken, meaning pacifier.
She is too old for this kind of tether,
the constant sucking. In every photo,
it looks as if her smile has been plugged,
even the dentist sees her teeth are growing
around it, so I snipped the tip, no suction,
little comfort. Eventually she will not
want it or need it or need me. She is becoming
a soul in this world, always craving something.
And I, the person that she trusts more than anyone
is the source of her distress. Tonight I silently
mourn this loss as I lean over her crib,
look into her watery brown eyes and tell her,
Yes, pa-pa’s broken.