I’m a tranquilizer.
I’m effective at home.
I work in the office.
I can take exams
on the witness stand.
I mend broken cups with care.
All you have to do is take me,
let me melt beneath your tongue,
just gulp me
with a glass of water.
I know how to handle misfortune,
how to take bad news.
I can minimize injustice,
lighten up God’s absence,
or pick the widow’s veil that suits your face.
What are you waiting for—
have faith in my chemical compassion.
You’re still a young man/woman.
It’s not too late to learn how to unwind.
you have to take it on the chin?
Let me have your abyss.
I’ll cushion it with sleep.
You’ll thank me for giving you
four paws to fall on.
Sell me your soul.
There are no other takers.
There is no other devil anymore.
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
"Advertisement" from POEMS NEW AND COLLECTED by Wisława Szymborska. English translation copyright ©1998 by Harcourt, Inc. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Poems New and Collected (Harcourt, Inc., 1998)