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Tamara Nicholl-SmithFebruary 16, 2023

Now is the lilac hour, the deep
bruise of the afternoon, when the
sun shuddered, turned its lengthening
face from the blotted sky, from the

impending sacrifice at the day’s
ninth hour, and closed its bright eye, closed
the sky’s lid, plunged noon’s peak into
eclipse, into the plum-dark night.

This happened. This is happening.
Then and now merge. It’s time to exit
the forty days. It’s time to strip
the altar. Time to hollow, time

the crocus purples morning, time
the hellebore, the Lenten rose,
bloods its pale petals. Time to yield.
Please, empty me, of everything

and burn this yoke of days, this shade
of living until I become a
clean crucible, a burning bowl
a hallowed column of fire. I give

all I said no to, all I did
not drink, or eat, or keep.
I give my emptiness and pour cold ashes
on fields of violet-bright sadness.

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