The Alabaster Jar

with a loud crack
broken alabaster in my hands
my heart also breaks open
releasing a roiling wave of scent
heavy and musky
speaking of earth
of buried seeds

ointment flows thickly
golden and slick
over the feet I love
the feet at which I have sat
in rapt attention for hours
soaking in his priceless words
I suffer none to be wasted

quickly I unbind my hair
thick, dark tresses
tumble down to catch
the precious perfume
before it drips 
upon the earthen floor
I smear it over 
one beloved foot
then the other

I hardly hear
the traitor’s rebuke
only his protective response:
“Leave her alone.
This anointing is for my burial.”
my heart surges with gratitude
to be in his dear presence
nothing could have spoken
the extravagance of my emotion
but this fragrant outpouring
which fills the air
and will cling to his skin
as to my hair and hands
for days and days to come

and yet this gift
is still too small
to match this love
I raise my head
and try to send it
shining through my eyes

Did he speak of the grave?
Does a storm approach?
Let it be.
Then I will say 
with the Shulammite:
Come, you winds
blow upon my garden
and let its perfumes flow
May the seed that is planted
in sorrow and suffering
burst forth with life
in the dawn that follows
the darkest of nights

by Celeste Boudreaux, February 2022

**Based on John 12:1-8; Luke 10:38-42; and Song of Songs 6:13, 4:16

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