Lent arrives with a sigh and the dust of snow. 
Is it time again, this eternal return? So soon?
The smoothing out of wrinkled parchment,
the reordering of our lives.
Or is it the notice that order is not what it once was?
What have I given up that I keep returning to Lent?
What have I abandoned to bow my head
to receive the soft smear of ash and oil.
I hear that from dust I was created and to dust I shall return.
The priest, she tells me this.
I heard this last year. And the year before.

It never ends. I am tired.
Ash and fronds and fire in the snow.
The bombed out bones of a Syrian city.
Leaden water in the veins of America.
Bile against the stranger
Bile against the woman
Bile against the different
Bile against the impure.

Ash and fronds and fire in the snow.
With ash on our heads
We are all these people
And none of them.
Blessed are the ashen
For theirs is
the mark of origins and ends
Made known to all and none
Woe to the ashen
For theirs is
Knowledge of good and evil
Burnt from long dead trees

Easter bears a promise that never quite yet blooms
And ash and snow will blow and dry away
And so shall each of us.
Easter bears a promise that never quite yet blooms

Courtesy of Christopher Rodkey, palm burner

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