My Death

I wrote this poem about the day I was hiking in a remote canyon in the Tahoe National Forest alone. I fell off a 30-foot cliff and broke my foot, back, wrists, and collarbone. I had to hike back 6 miles on my elbows and knees.

On the inauguration of my death,
I, with you,
made a pact with the devil.
Never to return again.
to spark,
that deep transcendence of soul.

And it worked,
For a time,
I could no longer feel,
the deep cries
of the world.

For a time,
I didn’t…couldn’t
care.

Then one day,
during the cycle of regression,
someone came,
and pushed me off the cliff.

Not a metaphorical cliff,
I am used to those.

Only,
I didn’t want,
any sort of death as my solace.
What kind of solace does death bring?
Only,
the kind of life that was lived.

It pushed me off the cliff,
then ran away,
I knew what had happened.
I wouldn’t…couldn’t die anymore.
Sometimes, death just isn’t an option.

I saw,
my body there,
lying in the creek.

Crumbled foot,
broken back,
smashed wrists.

I tried to break the fall,
but rocks are sometimes stronger than bone.

It is hard to say,
whether will to live
or
will to love.
It was hard to say,
whether alive or dead.

I have no idea how I went from creek
to cliff edge.
Elbows and knees are resilient
when other parts are shattered.

If I stop,
I start slipping back down,
and into the canyon.
And I can never go back.
Not to that canyon.

For six miles,
on my knees.
And I feel like a small child again,
begging, pleading, grasping,
onto the corner of that bed.
Please don’t do this again.
Don’t you know,
I’m just a child?

It’s dark again,
and just by my house I see a familiar face.
My dog wakes me,
and I sink further into her.
A man helps me the rest of the way.

This was my death,
and it was my birth.

Marion McDow

About the Author | Marion McDow

Marion McDow is an artist who owns a successful marketing and design agency in Seattle, Washington. She is currently living in Kathmandu, Nepal, with her husband on a diplomatic mission.

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