Dreams of the Donkeys

Christmas, 2010 / No. 25

Here is a picture of the younger donkey,

eyes downcast or canted in mimicry

of the slant shadows on the grass. Sun fiddles

through his fur, and everywhere he looks

is down, down where the trees kick

their spindly shanks into stories

about devils, about flaxen-maned

jennies asleep in the boughs,

waiting for tallish drinks of princely water

to wake them. Meanwhile, the older donkey is out

of the picture, fretting in more philosophical

pastures. Thirty-odd is too late

for happy endings and magic trees; he needs to know,

do grasses grow up or do they thrust in their roots,

and what do the humans dream? Let them hasten

to their deaths who know not the secret,

sensuous rewards of patience

and the beasts will gather to keen

at the clifftop, to bray for rebirth.

He, white and older than he can endure,

would like to be among them.

Katia Grubisic lives in Montreal. She is a writer, editor, and translator whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Grain, and the Fiddlehead. Her poetry collection, What If Red Ran Out (Goose Lane, 2008), was a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Last updated Christmas, 2010.