after a wire sculpture by Godinez
by Donna Langevin
Little burro tethered to a tree,
you wait with a bundle of mesquite logs
tied to your back that gives your spine
a fixed sway, and bows your head
low to the ground.
Borrico, your twisted metal
comes alive for me, saddled as I am
with backache, joint-pain, and nerves
like the barbed wires binding your body.
Resting for a while on a park bench
in the Sedona town plaza, I want
to fetch you a pail of cold water
that spouts from a stone gremlin’s mouth
into the blue-tiled fountain-basin
close to the Vino Uno, and the stall
that sells Navajo jewelry.
Patient, long-suffering burro
I wish I could unburden you,
rub salve on your sores, offer you
carrots or an apple from a nearby ristorante.
Instead of standing forever
in this murderous sunlight, you deserve
to rest in the shade of the Nativity stable,
feed on hay from Christ’s manger,
lick salt from his palm.
Little burro, I wish I could lead you there,
but this desert has too many thorns
and my faith is a dried-up stream.
I must leave you to wait here
among tourists snapping your picture,
and children stroking your ears.