I push shame around my plate like a chunk of spoiled meat, the toxins leaching to every interface and cavity. With an inverse half-life, the lethal substance grows, reinforcing, sending runners and tendrils to worlds known and those yet undiscovered. I wage my war on this shape-shifting plague. Thrust and parry, I step back from the insurmountable walls and set my sights on tearing down the bunkers in my personal city. Like lead plumbing, the danger eludes the observation of my fellow citizens. I am labeled a lunatic and no attention is paid to my evaluations of water quality. I search for similarly crazed friends, variants within a theme. I depend on the poisoned sanity of my wounded compatriots. We shovel the plate loads of spoiled meat and detritus. The foreshortened mountain of shame allows tiny strands of light to glimmer across the surface but the shamed devotees turn their heads. We, the few, face this glowering mass. I worry like a petulant child. What if we can not prevail? Is shame stronger than recovery? Have we traveled this far to miss the glacier’s edge as it slides away from us? I console myself with the sure knowledge: this life of sobriety is better than any other offering. Healing the world, what a lovely thought. Living free from shame today, what a necessity.
Crumple a sacred cow then iron it flat.
One skin, One mind, One spirit, One day
If I live in more than my own skin,
I am a body snatcher and ghoul.
If I live in a duality of thought I am ejected,
ostensibly out of my mind.
If I redouble my spirit
the increase takes a dark cold turn
and I am lost.
If I try to live two days at a time
the sand shifts in the glass
and I am worse off in that hour than Dorothy.
This skin is all I can be in,
as many times as I walk in someone else’s shoes
it’s the skin I’m in.
This mind is my only bequest,
treasure enough to earn my keep.
Free as this spirit is it is still tied at the heel
and like my shadow it remains.
And today is the only day where the magic works,
witches melt and clicking my heels gets my attention
even if it doesn’t always take me home.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault