Anne Kaier

Donkeys on Parade*

Listen to the audio version.

In the morning, a stub of candle looks pathetic;
at night, itís company.

Brides on donkeys ride next to a train.
I am on the train; it slowly picks up speed
intent on causing a wreck.
On its prow, as on a screen, the faces of
white, middle-aged men appear.
When the train jumps the track,
the menís faces explode in broken pixels.
The brides, their white gowns muddy and bloodied,
pick their way home, while a priest with brown hair
lowers his head over a victim.

Lately, Iím attracted to young men, one above all.
I watch the small curl at the back of his neck,
his hooked look when we read Milton.

How soft and kind my body is in morning light,
calm in its lengthening thighs, where lazy
rivers ripple through the shallows.

Tonight the moonlight lights my page
and softer candles shine in my beloved garden.
Iím reading Revelation, shot full with
seven-headed monsters, strange
apparitions who visited St. John
on Patmos long ago.

They are welcome, the demons. Welcome.


*Originally published in Philadelphia Poets, 2007.


Anne Kaierís essays have appeared in the New York Times, 1966journal, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Kenyon Review. "Maple Lane" was mentioned on the list of Notables in the 2014 edition of Best American Essays. Her memoir, Home with Henry, is out from PS Books.