Earth, oil, ashes, and a pound of precious nard

I have anointed people for death, and I think Mary was right to get in early, because when I return, a few days later, or a week, I do not come bearing precious nard.

The Cassock

I carry dust in my pocket:
a mess of dirt and ashes with the faint whiff
of burnt palm nestled in my hand
in a black film canister, the kind that’s gone extinct
now. I am ready in confessional clothes,
armed with dirt and ashes and a dust-dry mouth,
a pocketful of earth to fill the grave.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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