A gentle hand applied the consumed palm

Leaves to my skin last eve. No oil here,

Just coarse and grainy dust, a deep

Gray stain upon my brow. “Remember you

are dust, and that to dust you will return.”

The dust of Earth, as Genesis infers,

Is dust of all creation: Hydrogen

Which makes two-thirds of all the water in

My cells is even now ignited in

A conflagration glorious, that glows

Serenely in each star and bathes this globe

With energy that is the root of life.

Dust, yes, but dust of majesty! And when

I lay this body down at last, its dust

Can then return to Earth, stems spring from it

And reach unto the Sun: the living dust

Arising to the splendid, blazing dust

Of fire. Still, the coarse and grimy cross

Emblazoned on my countenance evokes

As well the harsh realities of life,

The grit of illness, pain, and death,

The grating sense of sorrow, injury’s

Affliction, and the misery of sin.

Gray grains of glory and gray grains of grief

Creation manifest in this crude cross

Of grit.

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