after richard wagamese

i was 17 years old
scared
blacking out and cutting my arms
waking up to dried blood
unable to stop

i showed up in your office
sat on that old green couch
you helped me make calls

the adult treatment centres
wouldn’t take me
too young
we finally found that place
the cedars

“hi, my name is angela
and i am an addict”
anonymous meetings
counsellors and key tags
i made it two years
with all of your help

i remember that first drink
nineteen
that first drink lead to
seven years
new habits added on
and new degrees
too

from the downtown eastside
to the casino on the rez
from blurry dim bars
to the white bathroom light
as i got sick
yet again
unable to stop

i was twenty-six
binged across the country
i left you
the habits followed
scared
blacking out and driving myself
across province lines
unable to stop

“hi, my name is angela
and i am an alcoholic”
meetings meetings more meetings
calling you
learning about spirit helpers

moose are born with their eyes open
you already know
what you have been looking for
you’ve always known
i saw it before it happened
i knew what was coming

a text message
inviting me in
to ceremony
i left some of it there
at that centre pole
stopped actively trying
to say goodbye

and still it followed me
choosing life
just the first step
learning how to live
a whole new path

i remember that first drink
twenty-eight
that first drink lead to
two months
up all nighters
sickness in my head
my stomach
my heart
unable to stop

but you never left me
my ancestors
my family
the medicine

you never left me

and when it was too much
too much too much
i sent you a message
you sent me a song

somedays still hard
somedays it calls
somedays i wonder if
what if
just one

but today
for you
you gone today
i will fight it
today is easy
to remember
to be honest
today
for you
i will continue

thank you
for fighting
for your honesty
for your words
for your love

i know that your love
has just changed forms
and we will feel it
in the full of the moon
in the breath of the stars
in the frosted tips of grass
in the song of the mourning dove
you are here

i will remember
thank you