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.
sweeping the kitchen floor –
the remnants of living –
rushing to work –
contemplation takes a backseat-
scattered in the last autumn leaves –
flock of small brown sparrows take wing –
Soot colored snow
drifts along the frozen roads,
ice covered and tangled
with asphalt and salt.
from the Lenten service
seep deep into my forehead,
gaining traction on the slick roads
that lie ahead –
self control and penance,
penitence and prayer.
Monk-like, I long for the cave
of solitude and singular thought.
Life fills in all the edges of my mind,
rolling the stone over the tomb,
guarding from reflection
in ice covered waters
or the certainty of resurrection
in the blooming of Christ’s wounds
on the hillsides of spring.
sweeping the kitchen floor
the remnants of living
rushing to work
contemplation takes a backseat
scattered in the last autumn leaves
flock of small brown sparrows take wing