Mood Ring

Inside me lived a small donkey. I didn’t
believe in magic, but the donkey
was a sucker for the stuff. Psychics,
illusionists, arthritics who’d predict
the rainfall. That was the year I had trouble
walking. I over-thought it and couldn’t
get the rhythm right. The donkey re-taught me.
“This foot. Yes, then that one. And swing
your arms as if you’re going to trial
to be exonerated of a crime
you’ve most definitely committed.”
Next, trouble sleeping because
I’d need to crank the generator in my chest
so frequently. Seeing I was overworked,
the donkey finally hauled it out—
it looked shiny and new, a silver dollar—
and tossed it into a flock of birds
who had to fly a long way to find safety.
I knew then I was a large and dangerous man,
what with this donkey living inside me,
but felt futile. One day, during
a final lesson on breathing,
the donkey asked what kind of jeans
I was wearing. I said, “The somber ones.”
“Poor kid.” “So will you be staying on
for a third year, donkey?” “No. I think
I should be leaving soon. I think
I should go and await your arrival beside
the crumpled river.” “Yes, I suppose
you have many important matters to attend to,
but maybe one day I will come and join you
for a drink or, perhaps, for a brief nap.”

Jaswinder  Bolina, "Mood Ring" from Carrier Wave.  Copyright © 2006 by Jaswinder  Bolina.  Reprinted by permission of Center for Literary Publishing.
Source: Carrier Wave (Center for Literary Publishing, 2006)
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