The Donkey on the Road
Jesse Graves

Each year I cut a tree sprout from the chimney
of my old house, and always it grew again,
a little broader and leafier each time.

Nothing prepares me for anything else, though
this sound of water gasping and sputtering
in the coffee maker doesn’t surprise me,

or the springs in my daughter’s bed releasing
as she gets up to brush her teeth before school,
feeling her way through the new house, the fresh life.

Our dog’s untrimmed nails click across the hardwoods
and as I open the door, the paradise
some are promised flashes brightly through the grass.

The donkey on the road to Brementown meets
his crew of cast-outs, no sorrier than most,
none really the musicians they pretend to be.

I left the tree in the chimney and came here,
my new destination as good as Bremen,
as worthy as the home I have set out from.

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