Ash Thursday

He did the yearly black solemn ritual
and got smeared  and humbled though he
didn’t like it much with the flecks falling down
in his eyelashes and the soul’s grief exposed so

He got home and stared at his conundrummed face
for five minutes give or take in the bathroom mirror
it wrecked him to be so humiliated, so mortified
he washed away the ashen cross and dreamed of dying

He woke up Thursday and after peeing and scratching
looked in the mirror and there it was like a Mardi Gras drunken tattoo
his forehead graffitied, black, sooty,
haunting him he wore it all day like an unbandaged wound

At bedtime that night he washed and slept like a storm-tossed boat
woke up to his sunrise reflection, his sleet eyes squinted
again it was back, his skin tagged with midnight streaks
and he walked the day mortal through to his marrow

After that first Ash Thursday and Ash Friday
and Ash Tomorrow, Ash Next Week
Ash March, Ash Autum, Ash Solstices
never a day went by when he didn’t see it, let it have its way

Never a day went by thereafter that he didn’t
rise to bless himself with Wednesdays words:
remember you are dust and to dust you shall return
and every day then on he was his free earthy self until he died


  1. Thank you. After all the speeches tonight I need to be grounded. With proper attribution, I will share this tomorrow.


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