We are dust and breathing—
sadly, more attached
to the dust than the breathing.
We are the mark of sorrow,
not a body but particles:
ashes of grief, borne on wind,
ash of 9/11, of towns burned,
dust of Mosul, of Kyiv,
of a million dead,
of ten million enslaved.
Time’s faint dust settles on us,
till we ourselves become
a faint layer in the earth.
Living among death and its dealers,
we stand at the edge
of our own grave.
Our dust cries silently
not merely of our evil
but most deeply of our sorrow,
our need to be saved,
to be revived, to regain our breath.
And so, Forgiving One,
you both stain and anoint us,
mark us and heal us:
we bear your agony on our foreheads;
you bear our sorrow,
so we may bear you.
You who breathe us into life,
Spirit that blows where you will,
gather tenderly our grieving dust
up from the earth
and breathe into us once again
that we may become a living being.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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