Ann Keiffer

Consumed by Consumption

Spiritually, I’m stranded

in the Valley of Dry Bones,





nothing left of me but dust.

But our cupboards are bare.

We need, at the very least,

the stuff of stone soup.

I drag myself to the super market,

prop my carcass on a cart.

I go shopping.


My ship of purpose has gone down.

I cling to a twig,

treading water, and treading,

and treading, and treading,

exhausted from all this

staying in one place.

But it’s Christmas.

There must be presents for all.

I crawl to the mall,

avoiding any Blessed Undertow.

I go shopping.


Inert, uninspired,

dull, dim-witted,

I languish inside my

cobwebbed, rusty armor,

my brain a dried pea

rolling around in my skull.

I’m either waiting to die.

…or perhaps already dead.

But we need new

lamps for the bedroom.

So I shuffle and creak

to Lamp-R-Us.

I go shopping.


Life whispers to me: What you need is:

beauty, refreshment, color, creativity,

all manner of ravishment for the senses.

So why is it the acquisition of

faux-suede purple pillows,

lamps that glow from within,

a strand of glittering beads,

a bag of fresh oranges,

a bunch of star-gazer lilies,

a tin of 70%-pure chocolate candies

has such a short shelf-life,

soon leaving me in need again?


Look inward, shopper…

A poem knocks faintly at my door,

but I’m not there to hear it.

A little creative make-thing

peeks in my window

looking for me,

but I’m too tired,

too busy, to see it.

A continual parade of

one-time-only possibilities

arrive on my doorstep.

all dolled up just for me in

get-ups of diamonds, chicken wire,

broken mirrors, flannel, jelly beans,

sack cloth, Silly Putty, lace,

bunting or alligator shoes—

with live alligators.

Such a rich inner world of

beauty and creativity

is mine to mine.

But I’ll never find

what I truly need

if I’m not home

when it finds me.


January, 2006


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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