Ashes

I blink
Gape-eyed in the mirror
Of fun-house humanity
And see the smudge

I wipe
Scrub-faced and sanitized
In pine-scent religion
And smear the coals

I run
Bare-assed into hiding
In fig-leaved denial
And hear the voice of one calling
Who put the ashes of a sinner on my head

1996

 

Note: This poem was published in Mars Hill Review in 1997 to celebrate Ash Wednesday