I wish the priest would dab the ash
upon my palm and wrist.
Spare my mind the fancy
of a clean and elegant resurrection.

O Father, forgive my agnosticism,
and I will forgive your being a God
who can be doubted.
Forgive my sin of steady selfishness,
and I will forgive your being One
who needed bloodshed.
Forgive my carnal hungering,
and I will forgive your Pauline elder
who smothers women with salt.
Forgive my profane thundering,
and I will forgive your silence.

O Father, I pray you will forever see
the deeper sweetness in my tantrums.
Dear Lord, if you even be,
will you encircle me?
Will you forgive Nephi’s enemy?
Will you raise me up? One morning,
will you show how this corruptible—
a worm’s leftovers caked
in vein rust—might yet
put on incorruption?
For if you do,
I will learn how I
can ever be made cleaner
than ash dabbed on the quick.


Poet’s Notes:

For a poem of similar sentiment, try Jonah.

For a journalistic take on Ash Wednesday, NPR published a nice piece by Deena Prichep.

Image by Myriams-Fotos on Pixabay.