The Burdens of Brother Ass

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You ask why I’m so tired and haggard,
wondering aloud with me nearby
if perhaps I’m not well, or ill,
or worse.
You wonder and worry, because
I was who I was all those years,
all those times,
always.
And I say, Yes, I’m tired and
look like I’ve lost the fight.
The back of my soul and
soul of my back lie bent and sore
from carrying the heavy known-to-you
and so-much-heavier unknown
all my life.

At my age this burden should
have worn me down, pushing me
to the dirt beneath the accumulated
weight of my time upon this earth.
But my secret to the precipitous angle
of my decline, this collapse to

a final

drop,
comes from carrying,
dutifully, stupidly, like a
self-whipped Brother Ass,
others’ burdens.
They were yours.
And yours.
And yours.
And I made them
mine.

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