Moishe's Horse

Summer 1989

When the ragpicker’s weary
Arthritic carthorse Mary

Caught a chestcold and died,
His sons and daughters cried

All night, at first for love,
And later for dread of

Their father’s tears, who wept
And paced and never slept,

Foreseeing their thin legs
Bowed out for want of rags

To trade for codliver oil
Cabbage, flannel, and coal:

How could a poor man salvage
From Castle Privilege

Orts and scraps of excess
With a dead horse in harness?

His strength was not as a horse’s.
“Tsuris. Tsuris. Tsuris.”

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