Ash Wednesday starts us thinking toward that gruesome hill,
though it seems we’ve only just seen the messiah child
birthed into the relative warmth of that cattle stall.
Grey soot graffiti drawn on our flesh temples
means that we, like him, are marked for death.
Ash Wednesday starts us moving along that road
though heavy snow still blankets the frozen ground,
we have forty days to travel up to that city – Jerusalem,
it’s always up to Jerusalem – and there to die.
Lifted up that all will see, lifted up to draw us all home.