Same donkey, different blanket.

posted Apr 8, 2006

Same donkey, different blanket.
- Iraqi saying

It wasn't always this way. At the kitchen table. Behind the steering wheel staying to the right. Walk up and down grocery aisles, my cart half-empty. My cart half-full. Unload it onto the conveyor belt, carry sacks to my car, then the kitchen. These things I did and do. Once I owned a fountain and a fence, seven cypress trees, a lavender hedge, a bench. A gravel path and roses, roses the air so heavy the sky itself collapsed. Earth tugged at my feet, my hair grew leaves as if I withstood gravity or sunset. Now nothing remains but this: the dirt beneath my nails, this chair, this floor lamp, and some days above the trees Juanita's ardent bray strange falls or filters, a mote in a chasm, hearing's canyon, to settle or be swallowed the way dust doesn't echo but can occlude the light or make light's passage visible lingering here—life's vernacular, a donkey's dilemma.

Sally Ashton is the author of Her Name is Juanita, These Metallic Days, and Some Odd Afternoon. These poems appear in Some Odd Afternoon, which is forthcoming from BlazeVOX.

Ashton is editor of the DMQ Review, and blogs at Poetry on a Stick.

We’ve published five more poems by Ashton: “Rapture,” “Donkeys also make good guard animals.,” “Christ,” “Litany,” and “This Lonesome.”