by Tom Barlow
Lent rolls around again and I only know it has arrived by the ash cross on the intern's forehead and the lack of doughnuts in the break room and I can't imagine forty days in the desert with heat like a hammer pealing out as it strikes dust for breakfast, ash for lunch, dirt for dinner. And all the while Old Scratch is offering you Mister or Miss Universe for the best night of your life and your own hedge fund and a killer deal on a rent-controlled on the Upper East Side and a guarantee of three poems in "Poetry" and five percent body fat and a hairline that will never recede and the new Tesla, zero to sixty in two-point-three. Ten wins in a row on Jeopardy and the looks of Denzel Washington, the life span of Betty White. Le Bernardin will take only one reservation for dinner on New Year's Eve and it is yours for the asking and Sully has agreed to pilot your private plane to your modest home on St. Kitts and one of your daughters is head surgeon at Mt. Sinai, the other is J.K. Rowling and you will be told the date of your death beforehand so you will have plenty of time to repent. But still you said no, no thank you, and therefore, Lent. Two millennia later, ten thousand wealth managers wipe the ash from their foreheads and thank God you weren't their client.
Tom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies including PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at tombarlowauthor.com.