Ann Keiffer

I Have Run Out Of Map

Two months ago I began a sojourn I hope never to make again. A nurse practitioner finally diagnosed the source of my overwhelming symptoms: drug withdrawal. I had cavalierly decided–with my doctor’s blessing–to taper off a benign, old-fashioned antidepressant I had taken for sleep for more than 15 years. But I didn’t taper slowly enough. Chaos ensued. I have restarted the medication. Gratefully. But in the process I have recognized the direction for the next part of my journey. I have begun.

I have been on this road for years,
but the last months have been
some hard hard-traveling.
Afoot night and day,
unhinged by sleeplessness,
icy blood in my veins,
sick in body and spirit,
shot through with anxiety,
thirst thick on my tongue,
the last of my bread just
crumbs in my pocket,
I have run out of map.
I have dead-ended in this
dry, barren emptiness that is
the edge of my Known Life.
Beyond this edge…
only a terrifying
over the precipice
into the Unknown.
Where am I to go?
To make my camp here
in this arid emptiness
is death-by-desiccation.
A gritty wind is already
covering my tracks.
I cannot go back.
A line of Scripture comes
and speaks to my terror:
Put on the full armor of God.
But all I have is this cloak,
woven from little threads of
The cloak is all I have.
I put it on.
I grab the cloak’s edges,
open my arms wide
…and I leap.

Ann Keiffer
December, 2016


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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