Day’s beginning before the dawn:
Hurrying with children to dress and eat,
To feed the dogs and zip the backpacks,
To make the holy journey together.
We entered church just after seven
And worked together to set the table:
A multi-colored cloth with fishes;
A purple-black candle I made myself;
Some stones from last year;
Dried flowers from last Sunday;
And then the ashes in a tarnished silver dish.
(I liked its look,
Worn and softened by time and hands.)
My children, marked with signs of God,
Went on to school and friends and teachers.
So few understood the mark they wore–
Would I have known, long, long ago?
A Baptist girl who “didn’t do” Lent
Now makes the sign on hands and heads.
She makes the sign and speaks the words:
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.