national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Three Months Sober

Charles McCrory  • 
The Adroit Journal

Today the protection of this plastic chip
I took at the meeting with a hug
and a God bless from—
well I shouldn’t say her name—
who’s been sober longer
than I’ve been breathing
and keeps coming back
expires.

 

Power has gone out of it
where twelve weeks ago
I picked its notched side
to check for chocolate
underneath, some stimulant
to cut the edge of my vow.
But in the way of symbols
it was all surface,

 

an inch thick, and it
depended on me entirely.
A nothing to breathe strength into,
to clutch in the night suspended
by disbelief. I heard the chorus
of echoes, the fixed testimonies—
just for today, tomorrow never comes.
And as I held my doubted disc, jonesing
the miracles happened
like dropped money.

 

Never in those nights did I dream
my sentence would dry up
like a good witch’s kiss
and leave me homesick for a cell.