Mind Training Slogan 34: Don’t Transfer the Ox’s Load to the Cow


March 21, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Brandel France de Bravo


I’ve measured out my life in dryer lint. Do I dare,
with my father’s eyes, follow a swallow in the air?

All that I can’t hold. The stutter, dip and glide of it.
All the scraping, clumping, dutiful disposing of it.

Everything transpired, gone, lives on like a mother.
Handing a morning mug to my daughter, she hovers.

Who is the hanger and who is the dress? I digress.

What I mean to say is I’ve never once seen my head
from behind. Maybe it’s a billboard where you read

my uncharitable thoughts about you, them, myself,
pinned and wriggling on the wall. I’d love to be a MILF

but who feels sexy with a tumorous growth? The bloat.
No way to know whether I’m someone’s guest or host.

It reminds me of that fable. When the dolorous donkey
carries both old man and boy, they say, “animal cruelty.”

“Call Child Protection” should the man decide to ride
while the kid walks, whining, by the donkey’s side.

“Selfish youth,” when it’s reversed, the old man
shuffling in the dirt. “Stupidity” if neither human

on the journey mounts the beast. Millenia-old
moral: try to please all and you’ll please none.

No matter my footwork, how I dodge and feint,
shame’s punch always lands. It’s the heavyweight.

The load I take off your back and put onto mine.


Brandel France de Bravo is the author of one full-length poetry collection, one chapbook, and the editor of an anthology of contemporary Mexican poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. You can read more at brandelfrancedebravo.com





One thought on “Mind Training Slogan 34: Don’t Transfer the Ox’s Load to the Cow

  1. Julie Convisser says:

    I love so many lines in this… “All that transpires, gone, like a mother…” and the music! Beautiful, worthy of turning over and over on the tongue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: