Friday, February 23, 2018

Poetry Friday: The Bluest Hour Before the Dawn

Before we get too far away from the week that contained Ash Wednesday, Valentine's Day, and one of the worst school shootings so far, let me post a poem that came to me.  Many of the details in the poem are true:  I did decide to bake bread on Feb. 15, and I did run out of flour.  I did realize on the way home that I still had a cross of ashes on my forehead.  Did it all point to something more profound?  You decide . . .

The Bluest Hour Before the Dawn

The morning after one of the worst
school shootings yet, in the bluest
hour before the dawn,
I ground myself by making bread
because it is too dark
to dig in the garden
or repot the petunias.

I discover I have just enough
flour to make a sponge
and so I get dressed quickly.
I want to beat
the morning commuters, so I don’t
even brush my teeth or hair.
I’ll be back to knead the dough
before the crowds descend
to clog the cash register lines.

I buy the flour and a few
other items we’ll need soon:
milk and juice and a lipstick in a rusty
shade I thought was discontinued.
I consider the discounted
Valentine’s products, but I have already proven
my love with a flower bouquet clipped
from the tropical bushes that line the fence.

As I drive home, the light begins its slow bleed
across the sky, and I realize that I still wear
the ash cross on my forehead from last night’s
service. Dust we are, dust
and the remains of stars and the bread
dough that remains under my nails
long after the day is done.

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