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The Death of Little Jo
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2013-09-29 12:29:31
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Six terrified horses had I killed.
Blood was trickling down between my toes, theirs and mine
When the flourishes of his uproarious entrée
Produced a mere tiny creature, el matador, the dealer of death.
I stood amazed.
How could they be so foolish to believe that such a little thing
Could stand up to my magnificence?
Could for one minute dance with me the dance of death?

His eyes locked on mine, eyes round and brown, rounded with white,
Set in his little face with guileful, haughty calm.
He patted my haunch as I passed him to show contempt.
He was the master, in control, showed no emotion.
I raged to crush him.

We put away all distractions, bore down to the task at hand, in the circle of sand.
When I saw the shining blue, distinguished cape from killer,
Followed the pirouetting feet, I jubilated in the coming kill. …

Today I am in glorious rumination.
The days pass indifferently, and light and dark, and pleasure and rest.
People come from far and near to see the Conqueror of Little Joe
And I am obliged, once and again, to recount that day:
How I escaped the blade that goes straight through the heart
And tore the guts out of my peerless tormentor,

With eyes flames of fury, my ears deaf from the screeches of the red-throated crowd,
With darts in my shoulders, and the blood running down,
And the heat of the sand, the confusing clouds of sound,
I lowered my horns and made my earnest rush.

I felt nothing at all, it seemed to happen behind me.
The crowd sucked in its breath as he ran in terror,
Scooting away, scooping up his guts, red jets spurting.

Todo el mundo was silence, witness to his new, now terrified eyes
Looking down at his hands as he ran, then disappeared.

I made no motion, I was surprised, I almost laughed.
I almost felt sorry for the little fellow. He could have been my loyal pet.
All had been voluminous noise, then silence, now
Here and there from the crowd came little shouts, little swallow swoops of despair.
I was tired and more than tired, but glad the ground was mine.
Of that I was proud.
Then courtiers swarmed me, flowers covered me, I was led away to cheering and songs.

* * * * * *

Between me and the light dancing master Little Jo there was a destiny that fatal day.
Victory to the one, death to the other    that is how it must be.
I'm glad it was me.
I shall die of old age, glorious, happy, as reward for my courage and my glorious deed.

But let me say:  not more glorious than he.
Let me acknowledge that I have loved that little man since first his blood coated my horn.
He earned his glorious death and also is immortal:
For he stepped forward into me, giving me every chance, tiny creature that he was.
Let me pay my tribute to that little man, whose heart was courage incarnate.
Although we could never truly know one another, except upon the killing sands,
Except upon that day, and as adversaries, in the display of the drama of strength and guile,
In homage let me say that he and I    we were a sort of perfection rarely seen.


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