“Beast of Burden”
by Sofia Skavdahl

2021 Poetry of the Sacred Contest Winner

Donkey in Petra, Jordan.

Photo Credit: Daniel Burka.

I carried the Virgin for seven days
through wet grasses, green slopes,
each stone poised on the path
was an opportunity for me to misstep.
At my own birth, an angel
said to me: you will enter
the pasture of God
so long as you do the work
I ask of you. First it was bushels,
dried figs, red bricks, then Her.
The weight was different,
the night warmer, every branch
bowed away from us, shyly
into itself. Later, just under
my nose, the boy laid in
the same manger I ate from,
while his mother steadied herself
on my shoulder, the two of us
no longer certain of our place.

Sofia Skavdahl is a Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work can be found in The Raw Art Review, New Limestone Review, Prometheus Dreaming, Peace Review, & The Academy of American Poets.