A woman prays during an Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey, in 2017 (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz).

I have come to light a fire on the earth
                                                       Luke 12:49

you are dust and to dust you shall return...
                                            so why ashes
                                            those sooty remains of palm branch holocausts
                                            rather than dirt from a fertile field
                                            or an empty back lot overrun with plants and weeds
                                            to remind us that evil grows among the good
                                            yet ashes proclaim this day of dust
a beginning 
and    a consummation
                                                        marking us with His dark, sacred solidarity


Sr. Lou Ella Hickman’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals as well as three anthologies. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015 (Press 53).

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Published in the February 2021 issue: View Contents
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