“Ernest did the honors for the burros this Christmas pageant. He did all
right at the Methodist dress rehearsal but when the big moment came and
the church full of Methodists, he wouldn’t put his foot inside the door.”

                                            —Flannery O’Connor


My mama’s donkey would be a Catholic.
In this house there’s no other way to be.
Braying his rosary on his rote rounds,
chawing his consecrated hay,
standing steady beneath the baptizing rain.
If ever there was a holy burro
Ernest is it. The Methodists see
only an ordinary donkey,
dumb creature, four hooves on the ground,
happy as a pig at a potluck
to preside at their Protestant play.
We shoulda known he would say no.
Our Catholic ass just could not feign
or hide his scrupulous disdain.