Autumn News from the Donkey Sanctuary
by Ken Babstock

copyright © 2011 Ken Babstock

Cargo has let down
her hair a little and stopped pushing
Pliny the Elder on

the volunteer labour
During summer it was all Pliny the Elder,
Pliny the Elder, Pliny

the – she’d cease only
for scotch thistle, stale Cheerios, or to reflect
flitty cabbage moths

back at themselves
from the wet river-stone of her good eye. Odin,
as you already know,

was birthed under
the yew tree back in May, and has made
friends with a crow

who perches between
his trumpet-lily ears like bad language he’s not
meant to hear. His mother

Anu, the jennet with
soft hooves of Killaloe, is healthy and never
far from Loki or Odin.

The perimeter fence,
the ID chips like functional cysts slipped
under the skin, the trompe

l’oeil plough and furrowed
field, the UNHCR feed bag and visiting
hours. These things done

for stateless donkeys,
mules, and hinnies – done in love, in lieu of claims
to purpose or rights –

are done with your
generous help. In your names. Enjoy the photo.
Have a safe winter

outside the enclosure