Temptation of Christ, 12th-century mosaic in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy. Public Domain — Wikimedia.
All the Kingdoms of the World (and their splendor)
Sin has a hole where it ought to have a heart
Where blessings are hoarded into worm-rot.
Here is my pride: see the palm frond blackening?
Flint-gray ash flaking and falling from
Bowed head. Burnt witness of my frailty.
Forty days and forty nights. A drop in the bucket
List of what eats me, bleeds me, stains me.
I profess. I confess. I sin. I kneel. But forgiveness
Is not bought and paid by scarlet-faced shame; or
Purchased through loathing and parch-mouthed penance.
I need to let go of the lie of these, in truth of all that I am:
A walking, talking, tear-rusted, grief-twisted, holy, worldly
Gift. (Alleluia.) I need to find the truth of who God is:
Staff-struck water of life, bleeding from the rock. (Alleluia.)
I am made new and capable of giving grace.
What am I, if not angel-fed and sated on miracles to surfeit?
Cassie E. Brown
Cassie E. Brown is Deanery Secretary to the Central Deanery, and is a member of Calvary Episcopal Church, Sedalia.