Grit between his teeth. Dry overcoming his mouth and his cheek. Slowly sucking all of the moisture out of his tongue. And the metal taste of sour dust was the only thing left. The drink of moisture only in his memory, there was no more wet. Not anymore. There was only a dream of what he used to know of life and hope and the creation that he was made for. But now. He tasted something different. He tasted the beginning. He tasted what was before the moist breath of life. He tasted the chaotic nothing, broken and and rocky and dirty in the back of his throat.
He used to feel the flavor for life. For everything in the garden, the berries and the breeze and the wind and the freedom. But since that day, since that Word, he could only taste one thing. Death. And what is was before it was good. What it was before the order and the chaos were separated. Drinking dust. Eating the fruit of the decay. Ash overtaking his adventurous tastebuds. Now it was all the same. Everything tasted like death and desert. Wilderness and hopelessness. Here was reality that he would never escape .
And he saw that end. He saw his own death, that the Lord made him eat and drink. Of the ash. Of the pain. Of the end. Of his journey. Even though he had so much longer to go. On to your belly you shall go, all the days of your life. Inhaling the despair that he had come to recently understand. Licking the dirty ground as his exhausted tongue dragged under the worn path of his steps.
Did he regret? The dust that he now must eat. The dust that he must breathe. There is no time for regret. There is no reason for rest. Because there is no recourse. For regret. It is over, it is finished. The artistic breath from God, the water of life, the spoken word of hope no longer lived under his tongue.
Unnaturally, it became his life’s masterpiece to give the kiss of dust. Pass the twisted gift that he had earned for himself, to all of the beloved creatures that surrounded him. Inviting them to each taste what he only knew. The grit and the grime of nothingness. The whirlwind of ash and strife. His most beautiful task, to love as he had been forgotten.
She couldn’t do anything but watch. The last of the living had faded back in to their cars and drove away. She was alone, now. Staring into the breathless underworld. Fresh dirt. Darker than the cracked ground that framed his grave. Fresh empty, heavy, dust. Exposed to the sun. Shriveling under the hot gasp of the morning, just like her tear emptied eye.
Even though she stood above, the air felt like below. Sunshine smelled like grey. Sounds muffled under the layers of invisible mud. People who were just there touching and singing and saying, were like soldiers of clay, fragile, unreal, ready to crack, and fall. And the alone felt as it should be.
He kissed her. And she didn’t want to taste his scaly lips. He pulled her into his dead breath, she could barely smell the rotten abscess. With too much confidence, he held her close. Too close to the nothing. She couldn’t do anything. To stop his kiss of dust.
And she saw her end. She saw her own death. The ash. The pain. The end of her journey. Without him, until death they did part, until what, she had so much longer to go. Inhaling the hopelessness that she had come to recently understand. Alone and darkened. Eating the dust every step along this tilled up path of the rest of her steps.
“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
God promised that the serpent would have his head crushed. His lying lips would meet the dust, and under dust they would remain. Licking, biting, sucking every life he thinks he can destroy. Because he knows his end is certain. Because he knows his deadly task will only sting God’s beloved people for a moment. Because he knows Christ has conquered, He has risen, and the victims of the kiss of dust will awaken like it never happened.