Peter Makuck is a distinguished professor emeritus of English at East Carolina University in Greenville. His poems, stories and reviews have been published in many leading journals including Poetry, The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares and others. Makuck is the author of eight poetry collections including Pilgrims, winner of the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award for the best book of poems by a North Carolinian in 1989. His latest book, Long Lens: New & Selected Poems, will be published by BOA Editions, Ltd. in April 2010.
Burro at Christmas
This jenny watched me from the far side
of the pasture leaning against the fence and
when I dangled my hand with a carrot nub,
slowly she plodded my way, stopping to rip
some grass, taking her time. The first nub,
she lipped from my palm and crunched,
allowing me to scratch her ears, pat her
smooth gray flanks with those dark lines
left by Christ as legend sends it down.
With the second carrot I was elsewhere,
thinking about a Bible story. She bit
and shook. My finger came back bleeding.
All my fault, not hers, still sweet as ever.
“A love bite,” said my wife as I washed it,
“but that might leave a mark.”
Or another parable I began to think.