rend not

Unconsciously, I think my husband knows its Ash Wednesday,
the beginning of Lent.
He is busy arranging things on the table top
and the smell of bleach cleaner is coming from the bathroom
where he has sprayed down the shower stall.

I need to dust, our prescribed arrangement of household chores,
he vacuums, I dust.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, I sing song to myself
as I look for the Murphy’s Oil Soap.

I tear an old towel into pieces-
Rend not your clothing, but your heart, the prophet tells us.
My heart has had enough rending, thank you very much, and
I think it is high time to darn the pieces together again.

So this is my Ash Wednesday prayer, this beginning of Lent,
that my heart be stitched back into place, that
its brokenness is plastered over and smoothed.
That the grief of the past long years be no longer bright flames
but ash and dust,
ashes to ashes,
dust to dust.

Joel 2:12-13 Ash Wednesday 2019

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