Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Donkey

Weeks before Palm Sunday
I thought of the ride into Jerusalem

and the donkey who carried Jesus
on the road, how he stepped stolidly

into history, probably died a few years later
without knowing a thing

about momentous journeys
or the bearing of divine weight.

Now it’s Holy Week. Now begins
the rush of replication of past events

pushed from fact to memory
to ritual observance.  And this year,

I’m the burden on the donkey, or so it feels from here:
that sense of calm and celebration

is already turning to remembered dread
of pain and time in the dark to think

of all the sins I carry — except for three things:
these sins are my own, I can’t even save myself,

and resurrection’s
no certainty for me. So unlike that first donkey,

whose thoughts are unrecorded,
you get this braying, this hoarse and boring

(to everyone, I imagine) declaration
of fear and recognition that I’ve always been

the beast who bears hope for others without knowing it;
not salvation itself, nothing divine at all;

just another ass on the road with people cheering
because the story has a good ending for everyone

except the incidental being
that in every story dies unremarked

at some unimportant moment
outside the scope of the fable.

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