Peter Case

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they turned me into a donkey

patient & strong  grey bristle-haired & cute, stubborn according to legend, silent in speech except for their call, the horn-like voice, four feet on the ground, straw bound and watching always watching—swishing flies with their broom-like tails—the soft snoot the adjustable & attenuated pointed twitching ears, the huge forward teeth in rows chewing corn, hay, carrots—the silky muzzle—the forbearance of the animal—here in all being but a passenger amongst humans—no they’ve been passengered but carry men women & children on their backs—the odors of dirt & manure—hay & the dry breeze—in their little barn over the hill & dale of Caulkins’ farm—which was really just a place, a home, with donkeys—four of them that we’d visit—Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, the Kings enters on a donkey’s back, greeted by seismic crowds, waving palm fronds—was the little animal frightened? Did jesus ride side-saddle? Was the donkey rewarded in Heaven or on Earth? The wild burros of Hawaii, on the big island, wandering the black volcanic ash & fields by the blue ocean—life of a donkey equals low man on the totem pole—the respect and trust of Balthazar—traded & whipped from town to town—credited as living brick but a donkey can feel, is sensitive, crys big tears, freedom tastes sweet, Platero—if they want they will but if they dig in forget it—are you like that donkey?


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