Because He Cannot Be Human, and She Cannot Be Donkey.
His name is Jacob, his fur an unruly thatch.
My sister is in love with him, brings him carrots,
apples and such. He lives in a field down the road from her
in Starksboro, Vermont. They are neighbors.
I wonder if he dreams about her at night,
if he’d like to snuggle with her at the old Mill House
on cold evenings. He reaches so far into his barreled chest
for a voice to greet her that it must take years
for such braying as his, a voice filled with such sadness
that only momentarily they will meet like this; two
reaching across the fence to hold, to stay held, to be
steadied by what fierce yearning as brings opposites together.
by Dianna Mackinnon Henning, first appeared in Pacific Poetry
Editor’s Note: This poem begins with simple imagery and a sweet story, but soon pushes the reader past that and into an intense emotional reckoning.