Ash Wednesday

I like to think of myself

as Mary,

or the cleansed leper who fell

at Your feet,

or beloved John who left

all to follow,

or the adultress justified,

or Lazurus even,

or the woman with the flow

of blood.


But no.

I am

the innkeeper

who turned You away,

the nine who walked thankless

of healing

the scribe standing smug with arms

crossed, or even

picking up a stone to throw.

I am the doubter, the accuser,

the one in the mob,

seeking a sign.


I am

the one You saw

as You hung suspended

between time

and eternity.

I am the one You chose

even as I wallowed

in the dust

of my shame.

I am the one You wept for.

I am the one You forgave.


The only gift I have is this.

Dust smeared

like blood on the lintel

marking me desperate

for Your coming.


Here I will sit in the night,

sandals fastened,

staff in hand.

Here I will wait for You

to pass over

and set me free.


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