Burnt Offerings, Palms and The days stretch long. Poetry by Josephine LoRe

Burnt Offerings

With which sacrifice will we appease the wrath of unnamed gods?
Will we offer our first-born, the head of our enemy, wheat, the blood of chicken
burn incense and repeat and repeat and repeat the same prayer? Today a Snowbird
fell from the sky; a young woman
died. We thought we could write rituals to mark
this troubled time, create mythologies, gather safely at a distance
normalize the toll. Remove the scent of death from the fabric of our clothes.


church was the fulcrum
around which time was measured

in February, early morning mass
ashes crossed onto forehead
like water crossed onto babes
from last year’s palms
the flame of expiation

Palm Sunday

—triumphant entry into Jerusalem
crucified within the week
had He known, would He still have gone?
Thy will, not mine

palms tender and green as the Holy Land
Mom taught us to shape two into a cross
a bubble where the Lord’s head would be

nails and crown of thorns
sword thrust in His side
such violence for a loving god

Good Friday
a day of betrayal—
the kiss of death, the cutting
of an ear, the crowing
of a cock a garden
of tears
why Good? such violence

Holy Sunday, Easter Monday
I wish to have been there
at the mouth of the cave
to see the stone, rolled away
with Mary Magdalen and the other
Mary to be asked,
Why have you come to seek the living
among the dead?


The days stretch long

the days stretch long
and this day
I would have expected
something unexpected
some presage
some celestial realignment

instead more deaths
thirty-seven to fifty-three thousand

(no words)

the sun shone though
minus-six a blessing

water poured from eaves
magpies squabble in spruce
and not just flickers but chickadees
come to peck on my wall

do they want in?
do they want me out?

tell me, oh flighted spirits
what is it that you want?


the stone rolled away
I walk the pathways
of my neighbourhood
usually teeming with life
dogs, kids, strollers
skateboards, mothers, scooters
sweethearts, cyclists, old lovers
together sixty years
their love grown tender with age

streets bereft
pathways barren
I have come to seek life
but will I find it here
in this place of the dead?

coyotes come up from the fringes
the wild space theirs again


Josephine LoRe is an internationally published, prize-winning covid-bound poet whose work can be found in numerous print and on-line literary journals and anthologies. She has two collections, Unity and The Cowichan Series and features frequently at live and virtual literary events. She has twice been Poet in the Prow and is working on a collection based on her Sicilian heritage. Josephine has an MA in Comparative Literature from l’Université de Rouen and a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from the University of Toronto. https://www.josephinelorepoet.com

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