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Life as an Elm
Painting 4 dark.jpg

January 25





I stand tall, my bark sloughing elongated rectangles.  Great bunions of protruding wood, giant bubbles of tight grain grown in reactionary curls, these tumors born of abuse and endured in maturation are harvested in recovery.  The burden of them is severed from me by the sharp teeth of truth.  Sectioning these masses for purposes of inventory allows the twisted and deformed wood to become dry and constructive.  I inlay the contorted sheets of history into the panels of the doors AA built for me, the doors built to exit hell, which gave me access to the world beyond. 

I stand in the woods, reaching the sky, sinking deeply to the underlying springs, surrounded by the joys of reality, things unseen in my pain- consumed, blister-covered life of addiction.  Life was a forest of one; the wind hit only me; the snow fell only on me; the drought affected only me.  Today, lightened by the loss of my inappropriate growth, I grow together with my sponsor, my group, and the we.  I can accept shade and shelter; also offer it.  The bugs and parasites meet with the resistance of communal health, and my disease has no harbor, not in my bark, not in my heart.  Today, my program strips me of my disabilities and makes me strong in camaraderie.


Cry just to water your face.




The Max Factor



I apply foundation and rouge

to make up the difference between reality and expectation.

My composition is unexamined by onlookers

Appearance is the subliminal standard bearer.


My brave face is plaster cast

as an estimation and a singularity.

Powder gives and takes power;

builds a glass ceiling then a glass floor.


What I owe my mind

is more than what I allow its representation to be.

I am made up to a spot on the wall

from which I can not move,

all because I wanted to put my best face forward.




You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault