The Beast of Burden
by John Haworth
Give me your burdens,
I can bear them.
Do not be afraid.
The path is steep but I will
dig my hooves deep as
you Burro into your grief.
I will help you pull through.
I’m sometimes slow,
but I’m not horsing around.
My reins are made of Saturn’s rings;
grab hold and know
that I am too stubborn to let you go.
You cannot image the things that have been done to me.
Abandoned and abused,
enduring centuries of domesticity.
A slave of slaves
building tombs for pharaohs,
while carrying the sun.
I have climbed many mountains,
pulling weight that would
break a camel’s back.
And, my feral friends and I are but
target practice in the desert.
Having bowed before humiliation and endured
I bellow a loud “Hee-Haw!” to the sky,
laughing at my labors of love.
There is a grapevine tangled in my tail
and when I play my lute, princesses swoon.
I have packed poets into the wild,
creating legends and Midsummer dreams.
I have carried gods and goddesses on my back
while walking upon palms.
Look into my dark eyes.
I am merely a mirror
for the burdens you can bear.
Go ahead, bellow your best “Hee-Haw!”
Let it out,
do not be afraid.
Sometimes, it’s okay to play the fool.
You will endure.