Driving to church on Wednesday night
from the chiropractor, I conjure
a profoundly poetic line about death
and how fragile I feel after it brushed
its spiny fingers along my neck last Friday
when the tractor trailer sent me spinning
off the highway on just two wheels
while I screamed for Jesus and thought,
for the briefest moment, about my baby—
fat and happy and safe with my husband.
But by the time I pull into the church lot,
the words have evaporated.
My phone shivers with a text from a neighbor
asking if I knew why five police cars
just barreled down our quiet street.
I reach to call but a slender smudge
on my thumb gives me pause.
I remember the ashes the young Reverend
delicately smeared on my forehead last month.
Their cool smoothness so startling.
How they glided across my skin,
soaking and settling in as if
they had always belonged there. As if
they were not once lush branches,
bursting forth in the sunlit chorus
of a thousand crooked hallelujahs.
Cover image by Ruben Bagues.