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Ash Wednesday

By Allen Helmstetter

A hill of ashes, overgrown

with thistle and burning weed,

bordered by weeping willows.

Why did we pile them there,

so close to our house? Now,

it grows in spite of us

like our sins, when we look,

a gray heap too near the heart,

bounded by bitter mourning.


Allen Helmstetter lives in rural Minnesota, USA. He loves the rivers, woods, and fields there, and is often inspired to write about the relationship between nature, the divine, and the human condition. He has been published in Ariel Chart, Bulb Culture Collective, North Coast Review, ONE ART, and Willawaw Journal.


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