40 D

by George Perreault

Well, that’s what I was thinking too
when first that fragment lit the screen,
but it led only to a film review, 40 Days
and 40 Nights, which the critics deemed a
mediocre effort, like most of our undertakings
at seasonal vows and minor renunciations,
and yet the number dragged me in –

stories of rain swallowing the earth entire,
four bewildered decades, sweet temptations
in the desert night, the devil whispering
les moments sucrés de mardi gras, the priests
warning not just a Wednesday, all our years
are a feast of ashes if, by forty winks of evil,
we are consigned to eternal flames,

that number sacred even among Sumerians
is given then to Jesus, green from the grave,
to revisit creation, appearing, disappearing,
his body, like us all, both holy and wounded,
taking cool water and evening wine, the air
ripe with cedar, lamp-glow on earthen walls –
whatever’s a blessing as you turn into sky.

© 2022 George Perreault  All rights reserved.

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