Ann Keiffer

The Thing You Didn’t Want

When The Thing You Didn’t Want
comes pounding on your door
and you think to pretend you are
not home, you will not be spared.

The Thing You Didn’t Want will
walk through your locked door like
wood is air. Your protections and
protestations will have no meaning.

And you will stand trembling before
The Thing You Didn’t Want and say
you can’t have it, it has come to the
wrong house, there must be a mistake.

But The Thing You Didn’t Want will
be immovable, inevitable, looming, cold.
There is only one thing you can do then:
Invite it in, The Thing You Didn’t Want.

Lay the table where the sun can spare
some light and warmth for you. Bring
coffee, tea, cookies, cake, anything
your fumbling hands can offer.

Now sit down at your own table
with your own cups and plates,
your pen and paper…and talk to
The Thing You Didn’t Want.

Though your eyes run, red, and
your teeth break and crumble
on your rage or anguish–you must
ask The Thing You Didn’t Want

what it wants, what you need to
know, what you’ll have to do to
work with it. Write down your
every question, its every answer.

You may think you won’t know
what questions to ask or how
The Thing You Didn’t Want will
answer. But you will. You will

imagine it, make it up, write it down.
The words will come from a deeper
place than you knew you could reach.
And there at your table, in the light,

The Thing You Didn’t Want may
begin to reveal it is a Shape-Shifter.
You may sense subtleties in its form
and being, a new malleability in you.

You cannot force The Thing You
Didn’t Want to leave the house of
your once seemingly inviolate self.
You will only terrify and exhaust

yourself with struggle. Expand. As
you can. Learning to live into this.
Give The Thing You Didn’t Want
your “yes.” Make something of it.

As you can, make it your way-shower,
guru, sensei, teacher. In some strange,
unthought-for way, it will, in turn,
make something more of you.

Ann Keiffer
February, 2015

Image Credit: Google search

Something has come for me, a thing I really didn’t want.
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. One week ago I
woke in the night with intense tinnitus and then realized
I had gone completely deaf in my right ear. Unlike conductive
hearing loss, which affects the outer ear, SSHL is considered
an urgent medical problem. Rare, perhaps virus-caused.
The only treatment is an immediate course of prednisone.
If the prednisone is given in time, sometimes some or all
hearing can be salvaged. Sometimes damage is permanent.
I am now waiting to find out whether any, all or none of
my hearing can be restored to me. I like hearing. I like
conversation, music, movies, plays, birds singing, laughter,
crackling leaves, rain falling, breezes in treetops. I like
stereo. I like singing with the choir, and not sounding like
I’m singing by myself with my head inside a plastic bucket.
I don’t want to have to make something of this, but I will.


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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