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.

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