Pick sage fresh at dawn, still damp from dew.
Dry it flat in sun,
gray spray spreading like moth wings,
purple buds bulged, clouds above
gathering for their own ceremony.
Meditate until evening.

Focus on why your life needs smudging.
Include lies to friends,
lovers betrayed, tossed away.
Hope for no storm, enough time.
Crush each stem with both hands.
Pile the mounded bits chest-high.
Put your heart into it.

Strike steel with flint; make wild sparks
skip like lightning to the gray,
bring sage alive with fire. Pray smoke
curls in swirls so thick it cleanses even you.
Close eyes, breathe deep. Dream
of redemption. As night arrives,
forgive yourself, weep.

Timothy Pilgrim