Ash Thursday

A rooster crows, a baby cries. Enter chorus.

Theirs was a sadness that had to wait.
We did not see the calendar, but we could feel the days,
Smearing grey ash across the broad bone of our foreheads.
How many shadows did not belong to someone?
They seemed beyond counting, a refugee darkness,
So close no tear could drip between them,
And still we wept like cows lowing.
We cannot recall the first grief that made our heads bow,
We cannot recall the dates of the deaths, 
What each blurred face did for a living, who they loved,
The madness that jerked in their heads before the peace,
The ancestral karma they bore like smoking coals.
Theirs was a sadness that had to wait,
And it died in that waiting, and, numb as we were,
We mourned that late sadness too.

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