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When I Woke Today, I Shook Eden From My Head
SM (May 3,1981 / Tucson, AZ)

When I Woke Today, I Shook Eden From My Head

Poem By Sean McDowell

When I woke today, I shook Eden from my head,
and in its place I found a story
I'd heard as a child:
of a man long ago who lost everything,
and in his grief
cut off parts of himself,
and threw them into a nearby river, watching as one
after another they sank
and transformed into fish that swam away
under the dark water.
When I woke today,

I saw you
standing on the riverbank, knife
held to your chest, point
pressing in
just above the pounding. I saw you hesitate,
and in that moment
I now live. I wait, afraid,
knowing that when I became what you now threaten,
I used all the power in me-
I drained the marrow from my bones, breathed
myself into your lungs,
and now I wait
to see if you will press in, if you will cut me out
and throw me back
into the river. And I wonder what I will become this time,
when I sink and do not rise-

when I can no longer see a difference between
the heart
and the edge of the knife.

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