Poem: The Burden

How do we carry our burdens?
You cast your eyes down at the horseblock
marking the sparkle of gravel
and then up, defiant, a mare
tousling her mane as she runs free.

You accept, take it upon your back
as broad as a pony, the breath
labored until you find the balance
and then the weight can be borne.
Footfall by slow footfall to the mansion door

until the passenger dismounts laughing.
You offer a steeled smile, run the sweaty back
of your hand across a sun-browned brow
and then return to the horseblock to wait.
The journey back: so light, the breeze drying

your hair with cool salt, your body so free
you could run on the grasstips, whinny and roll
and you do for a time until the wait beckons.
This isn’t a one-time responsibility,
the loss in your heart the core of the earth

pulling everything to ground in its gravity.
With the red sunset, a day ends its duties
and you slide back into the house past
their sharp comments, and shed yourself in the bath
for a time, always a time. The red dawn on the other end

of the sky’s bowl dishes out another day
of burdens. They seemed so heavy at first,
the hours endlessly stretched, taut as a loom.
Footfall by footfall we bear their weight on,
not knowing their end, only that they do.


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