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78 the minnesota review James Sutherland-Smith The Donkey Donkeys know nothing beyond Their own condition and such vision Of fodder and water As is circumscribed by the half-shut, Heavy leather eyelids. Their ignorance is bellowed A sound more adamant Than a beggar's cry, the opposite Of our voices made sweeter By fantasies of paradise. One I saw four times. The first In his harness between the shafts Of a water acart thrashed With a slat from an orange box. And when he didn't move, released To show networks of scars From rope burns and beatings Whose lines met on the shoulders Where the halter had rubbed most Leaving an open ulcer. Next I saw him outside the hotel With a mare vigorously Moving upon her, his shoulders Shaking beneath a shawl of flies. Then he was outside my house Weaker. What could I offer him Except old rice from the waste pail? He refused and took only The room on the road I gave him When I drove off to the beach. And it seems he went there too. For the last time I saw him He lay a hundred yards from the sea. Carrion eagles were busy At his eyes and entrails. Their white wings covered his head. ...


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