Ashes

Ashes
by Ann Weems

Two nights ago I knelt and
took the ashes form the fireplace.
It was some time before I saw evidence
of the smudge of ash upon my face.
I washed it quickly away.

Last night I knelt and took the bread
and dipped it in the cup,
and then I felt the cool smooth
finger of ash upon my forehead,
ashes from last year’s palms
saved for this holy time.
I wondered if there might still be
some remnant of Hosanna!
lingering in the ashes.

All evening long I wore the ash,
that holy ash,
and when others saw the smudge,
I wondered if they were inclined
to wipe it clean
or to lean closer
in the hope of hearing
some soft Hosanna!
burning still
in ash
or heart…

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