The last time I was here
a mountain of coniferous fuel
awaited the snickering flames,
and we loaded on the greens,
hauling limbs and branches and trunks
and snapping pieces of tree
into the orange mouth of the Epiphany fire.
We stood around in down and flannel,
hugging ourselves and shivering.
A coyote howled up on
. Sassafras Mountain
Today I pull together a snarl of rusted metal,
the pale green glass nose
of an old-fashioned Coke bottle,
a dented metal bowl,
and a stick, long as a branch
to frame a place of ash and pagan collusion against the cold,
a marking of the passage of winter
and the exchange of sacred gifts.
The dry grass crackles around my heels.
The auburn pinestraw
and the green imperious blossom
of an invading dandelion
have become the gifts these Epiphany ashes offer me,
the sacramental metal of the bowl
the perfect shade of gray
in the summer light.
©Laura Sorrells 2007
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