by Jim Ryan
A candle flame gives strength enough
Ash Wednesday eve to raise
“the poem of humanity”: Christ’s cross.
The cormorant, ambiguous symbol,
spreads its wings to dry in the sun.
Penobscot Bay washes against the rocks.
There’s poetry there too.
Purple shrouds the crucifix. The candle’s
burden of illumination: dust thou art.
Ashes sign your forehead with black wings.