Mystery – a poem by Kali Lightfoot


The second step we take in AA
is to believe in a power
greater than ourselves.
Newly sober, I tried to trust

in a peaceful alpine meadow,
then the love of the AA group itself;
later I embraced the eastern pantheon,
so different from the trinity

I had tried and failed to love.
I learned Sanskrit chants and poems.
But one day in meditation noticed
that no matter how many verses

I sang to the guru’s sandals,
it was always You who showed up,
looking like Charlton Heston
in The Ten Commandments,

and maybe a little like my dad:
tall, feet planted, eyes on the horizon,
the true man taking charge.
Though I am grateful to know

You at all, I would really like You
to show up as someone else:
Xena the Warrior Princess perhaps,
or Helen Mirren looking lovely—

a smart, strong woman in her 60’s.
But I seem to be stuck with You,
the right-wing guy with granite
tablets in one arm and a rifle

in the other. You are not a God
of compassion or comfort,
but You are the God that has kept
me sober all these years.


Kali Lightfoot‘s poems and reviews of poetry have appeared in journals and anthologies, and been nominated twice for Pushcart, and once for Best of the Net. Her debut collection is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in 2021. Kali earned an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, find her at

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