The donkeys are eating the barn. They’re bored, poor things. They are eating out the shape of a donkey, of a dull, sulking herd of donkeys, until at last, come spring, when the thaw comes again they wander out into the sun.

There they stand there. Flatulent. Yawning takes a full minute and you can jam a hand past their teeth. A bee zips in, plenty of time, and wets its wing on the painted dome. Spring at last.

Soon dark comes late and the donkeys, exhausted, lie down in the mud. They pass a night like this. Another, the bums. Beetles. Look a bunny. A tender, inquisitive mouse, twitching her sealed vagina. In a week she’ll reach lordosis.

Not so the donkeys. The donkeys go on warming the shapes of themselves in the commodious mud. Never mind the month’s splendid exertions—a mole nosing darkly toward a parsnip, a raccoon sipping pearls of dew.

Here a wren sets down on the ridge beam. The barn shudders, slumps, collapses at last. The donkeys let down their sloppy members and kick up their heels in glee.


NOY HOLLAND is the author of three story collections, Swim for the Little One FirstWhat Begins with Bird, and The Spectacle of the Body. She teaches writing in the graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of: Bird: A Novel