Scribblers Ring



July 2010 by Mark Hoffmann

My job is to carry tourists
ó often very fat ones ó
up the mountain
to visit the monastery.

My name?
My name is The Donkey.
My master?
My master is The Greek.

The path is steep and stony
but I am sure-footed:
I take pride in my work.
The Greek walks behind me.

It takes thirty minutes to climb the hill
and he whips me all the way.
He uses a thin tree branch
thwack thwack thwack
across my rump. It's habit I suppose.

My passengers donít seem to notice,
or if they do, they ignore it.
Except for one woman
an English woman with hair like barley
and strange red beetroot arms.

"Please donít hit The Donkey.
It is unnecessary."

thwack thwack thwack

"I said
do not
The Donkey."

thwack thwack thwack

She dismounted
grabbed the stick from The Greek
thwack thwack THWACK
across his rump
snapped the stick in two
and threw it to the ground.

We continued up the hill in silence.

That night
The Greek cut himself a new stick
and came to my pen.

The blows fell and bit deeply into my flesh
and as The Greek raged
I thought of the Englishwoman
with the barley hair and the beetroot arms.