Lent is an airport we land at just when we
Had begun to hope for an early spring.
That final glide path with engines cut back
Brings a swooshing quietness, until close
To the earth again the ground rushes up,
Savage gravity rattling plane and flesh.
Imagine the Messiah landing with us—
That amnesiac who returns each year,
Fickle crowds faded from his memory.
Fooled like us by a chance February thaw
He comes back forty days too soon, picturing
Exultation and the waving of supple greens.
He must wonder at the absence of those familiar
Piercing blue lights, must wonder why tonight
Burning fronds light the runway, wonder
Why soot fills the air and people walk sullenly,
Forehead down—must feel a landing jolt of memory
Ripple the calm surface of divine forgetfulness.