God remembers that we are dust

On street corners, cats scavenge for scraps
deep within the angles of the shadows;
dust and debris fallen from the high-carried
baskets of bread and meat; the fruit
they could take or leave; the herbs,
relics of another time and place
where the sun shone and the city
opened its gates to devour its light,
intoxicate them.

A little lower than angels, we
carry the baskets high, but we
are not the acme of this trickle-down economy;
shedding our dust and ashes,
knees and ankles buckled by
our own cobblestones, the ways
of our own making; we grow
like weeds among the dirt, shallow-rooted,
subject to drought,

Yet God remembers us.
God remembers that we are but dust
and the ashes of last year’s plans;
God remembers how once we blossomed
with hope and love; even so
God sweeps together the dust and ashes,
anoints them with a little oil from the marketplace,*
daubs the walls while the world sleeps:
Remember, and return.

Rosalind C Hughes is an Episcopal priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie next to Cleveland, Ohio. Her books, A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence are available from Upper Room. This poem is part of a Lenten series, The Friday Fast, at http://rosalindhughes.com


*Psalm 103:14-15, Psalm 90:5

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