My Forehead, My Thumb
When it is my forehead
it is the creamed grit and gentle coarseness,
the earthy feel of the dirty smudge
which I must later wash off,
this smeared ash that I feel
the abrasive reminder
that this is what I will return to

When it is my thumb
it is the smooth, resilient skin that I feel
the eyes full of need
and hope and fear that I meet
my hand marring the baby’s unknowing sweetness,
my thumb on elders’ papery skin
it is my voice which murmurs
the poetic reminder of mortality
and I know, amidst all these signs of life,
that we are returning to dust

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