It’s easier to steal when you’re drunk.

Plan it out—before the haze has fully taken hold of you, and after

the first few drinks of the morning, so the guilt does not have edges.

You have no money (not even a dime – how did you get to this point?)

and the horror of withdrawal is not  a dwelling you are ready to inhabit.

Slip the bottle into your purse. Large, for this purpose.

And for the fact it holds your worldly possessions.

Casually walk away. A scramble to a washroom,

(Starbucks, the staff are nice there) and fingers tremble as you

Undo the cap and tip the vodka up.

Burn to your throat, it claws down to your belly and


But this poem is not about theft. Nor drinking, for all that.

It is about now.

What you are left with when you leave the flight behind,

throw open the doors (gasping with terror and shame) to the world you had

Striven to outrun.

Your palms are empty, that gaping purse bereft of tools to carry

you through this Life.

A choice had to be made. You were faced with darkness and, bewilderingly

(What were you thinking? You were not ready.) You chose Light.

Dues must be paid.

Guilt takes a shape.

Everything hurts the eyes.

Shame, like a cat hunting comfort, trails in the back door while you bolt the front.

Pay for the past and still look forward. You didn’t expect this.

And yet.

There are these splendours, perhaps small:

your child answers a phone, cities away, smiles in his words.

A friend reaches a hand and stills your shaking knee.

Wipes your tear.

You run, miles, sweat, muscles strained (a passion so neglected) and

your body sings.

These treasures every day and more! A book, a flower, a glass of ice cold water.

Blessings. They seem to pile up around you, everywhere you look.

Who are you? The drunk, the thief, the coward. These may be parts, dark corners within you.

You speak of these dark places all you can.

There are others who share these—you want them to know:

There is beauty afterwards. There is love, and light, and freedom.

Beyond the Darkness is a place, holy in its simplicity.

Choose this place, and call it Home.


Published by Keeley Milne

Keeley Milne has an irrepressible joie de vivre. She is most content when with her son Liam, a pile of books, or in the woods—and best yet all three at once. She loves to run marathons in other countries, go on solo adventures, and drink a perfect cup of coffee. She is a voracious reader and loves to write, listen, and laugh. Keeley makes her home in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she is completing an English degree, going for runs in the coulees, and hugging Liam as much as she can, every day. You can connect with Keeley on her Facebook here, on Instagram, or Tumblr.

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