2/17/2010

Ash Wednesday Whispers

The priest whispers ashes,
And I think dust.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,”
and I confess a lack of certain hope.

Arnold is dead and never got to Haiti
to visit a woman of his dreams.
The dream is ash,
his body now ash.

Haiti never got to live into
the fullness of its dream,
The dream of a free people
in a free and peaceful land.


Once a competitor for the grand title,
“The Pearl of the Antilles,”
She is no longer. She is crushed,

The luster and wonder is gone,
Ashes to ashes,
And dust everywhere.

The thin woman guide
Stood in the rubble and said,
“You should skip Lent this year;
you have already had your Good Friday."

I'm not so sure and certain:
The dust is everywhere,
and beneath the rubble

There is the crucified Haiti,
Limbs and feet
and head and heart
hammered by the energy

of great forces beyond its control.

Ash Wednesday is every day here,
And those who remain can sign the Cross
In ash and dust, everywhere.

And Good Friday is every day,
And the decay of bodies crushed is every day.
And Lent is a permanent condition.

Still, the shepherdess is right:
It is not Good Friday that will draw
The attention of the Haitian people,
or of Arnold,
this year.

This year,nothing will do
except we have
a general Resurrection.

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