Original Sin

Walking in the twilit woods,
thrashing through tangled thickets, 
tree trunks interlocked with falling leaves

in the deepening gloom to obscure themselves;
trees, leaves, sky,
failing light and my footsteps.

Back in the false glare
of a mirror, I found
a swoop, scuttle, screech and squeak 
etched on my forehead; and I thought:

How could it have slid off me then — 
the pounce, curving claw, red rip 
and the shrinking flesh?

Had I a heart then,
or was there room for thought only?
 — Now the thought of thinking itself
knifes cold as the kill —

I had heard it happen, 
without a second thought.

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