What happens to the dominoes that do not fall, the show cut short by my sobriety? The tiles stand front to back; the least foul respiration will send them to their preordained destination. I hold my breath as I glance over the display of generations. The design is set. Painstaking patterns lain with meticulous, ingenious deft. Skill for falling, laying waste. Sad pictures told and retold in speedy drops. The rhythmic fall of dominoes turning eight blocks to a corner. Direction shifts but the descending continues. I can not occupy this ground. I must not upset the arrangement. I cannot clear it from this world. I must walk away from the upright mosaic, a flower waiting to bloom with destruction. I have to move. Climb the steep slopes. Vertical life, leaving the tumbling destruction for Yet. Grasping the sides of the cliffs, I haul myself off the tableland, a place set for a show of lying down. I build my strength and keep off the well-known flats. This is a life apart. The game is there if I return. It is a game no one can win.
Over Troubled Water
Though God might be everything,
for a long time, God was a resident
of an unknown country;
a theoretical citizen of a theoretical land.
It took some time for me to spy yon distant country
and longer to realize what a miracle it was
that I could see my neighbor,
holding my optics turned around the way they were.
Turning over the binoculars came long before
introductions or interaction, but it was an important step
in relationship building nonetheless.
Having seen the island my mind fled
due to the trumped-up stories about its resident.
Open minded observation cleared up the fallacies
of ogres and super heroes,
But this only told me who God wasn’t
and nothing of who God is.
Direct knowledge was going to require direct contact.
I began throwing tethered balls of string
across the channel that separates us
and was shocked, delighted, horrified
to find that the far end would get tied to the far shore.
I threw twine next, then rope,
after a few successful repetitions
I was able to shinny across for the first time.
Filled with fear and trepidation
I arrived on the opposing bank
and stood shivering more from nerves than cold.
I saw no one and felt much.
I didn’t stay long and swam back.
The first plank bridge was simple and straight.
Having this link somehow emboldened me
to explore the land of my own country.
With great regularity I found narrow margins.
I crafted a new bridge for each slender passage.
The more I learn about me
the more regular my connection to that inner land.
Like something shy of my wrath,
God made an elusive sight.
The more I calmed the more often the sightings.
We made acquaintance and then we made friends.
I’ve widened some bridges and God has widened others.
We stroll together often hand in hand.
We talk and laugh, cry and joke.
Occupancy is fluid, times I live on the island
and others the surrounding continent
sometimes we live together
other times we are one another’s quests.
All the days are not happy ones
but we are always happy to be together
and more than that I will not ask.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault