Her dark russet hair, wiry, tickled the legs and
her boney back made sore the tiny bottoms of
sparsely clothed Butts. She was a tough old girl
slow; bit proud of herself when I climbed on her
back, I swear that old mule would strut.
Silver hair replaced the brown around her eyes and
mouth, in her prime she pulled plows and wagons,
old Soap Sticks, a genuine mule from the south.
She woke at four O’clock every morning with a braying
that echoed off the nearby bluffs, like the barnyard
rooster, it was her way of telling everyone they had slept
Her world in those days were filled with sunshine and all
the oats that she wanted to eat, her long ears had finally
gone deaf, her sight weak. Soap Sticks, wise, her senses
distinct, she roam familiar fields by instinct.
She inhabited the lazy brook in the field, nibbled on
whatever the land would yield. Her love for children never
slowed down, when I was close to her, she would instantly
kneel to the ground.
Climbing on her back, holding to her rough old cropped mane,
she took me through fields of sweet sugar cane. She would
go down into the brook letting the water tickle my feet; old
Soap Sticks on any given day would delight me with these
Unafraid, I knew that she would never bring me harm, when she
tired of the ride she would slowly take me back to the barn. It
was fall when daddy came into the kitchen to say, that old Soap
Sticks had gone away. “Where”, I screamed, “She suffered all
night,” He said, “But early this morning she just closed her eyes and
died, she could no longer stay.
Daddy buried her in the pasture by that lazy little brook with water
clear and sweet, the same one where she loved to wade and tickle
my feet. I said a prayer over the big tall mound; she would lie there
forever only a few feet under the ground.
I knew that Soap Sticks would no longer be old and alone, she would
roam green pastures and drink from bubbling brooks, at last, she
was truly home. She could now hear birds sing high up in the trees,
and once again, she would be able to see; no matter how long it
takes me get to Heaven; I know Soap Sticks will know that it is me.
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