“EL BURRO VIEJO (The Old Burro)”

The Sun
My friend
Returns
Upon
The hill
To lift
The edge
Of night
So tattered by the embers’ flight

The Man
My Friend
Within
His house
Begins
To stir
With song
Alone
So sadness in my ear is sown

My eye
Is filled
The Man
My Friend
Now tithes
My trough
Sweet grain
With hay
Melaza means we work today

A blanket woven by his Wife Who Died
Adorns my saddle where he dare
Bestride me slowly with his beaten heart
And turn, as if to cry good-bye

I trot along the Trail My Friend once more
To bear all sorrow down to town
Where we will trade it for a day or so
Of work together dust to dust

The bargain struck by hand to carry goods
Upon my back up there somewhere
Beyond the pass where pumas hide the moon
Machete smiles did slice the price

My hooves the hours mull with dust and salt
That smolder from the pounded ground
The strangers grow impatient with my pace
And tell the Man My Friend to tend
My inclination, weighing on my knees
My coffin bones are spears of tears
The Man My Friend with gentle songs beside
My toil he shares with yet regret

Yet steep between the jaws of canyon walls
The waves of rocks in frozen pose
A shadow dances on my bleary eyes
My legs I lose, so quit and sit
The angry strangers my existence curse
But flying words can bring no wing
So stones are cast that gouge away my fur
I bray to heaven, then cries arise

The Man My Friend between the stones and me
Does intercede and begs my legs
To help me wobble, like a foal again
But he is struck by stones and moans
Collapsing with me back into the dust
The strangers leave us there aware
They take our chances with their own and go
The goods upon their shoulders rolled.

The Man My Friend is moving not at all
But grave injustice I defy
To find myself arisen and I bray
I bellow and I scream extreme
Damnation on the wicked strangers’ path
When one returns despising eyes
And draws his gun and fires amiss at me
I kick at rocks that fly awry
To clatter up the narrow canyon walls
He ducks his head his fellows yell
The canyon is an echo cauldron now
I hear a rumble, then again
When boulders fall and crush the strangers dead
Manojos de su dinero share
The Man My Friend and I
Viejos juntos

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