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Putting Our Heads Together

Poetry Contest 2006

And the winners are...


       

The Cluster Headache
by Scott Evans

It’s right around the corner
I can feel it lurking, just under my eyelid maybe
or just to the front of my right ear
maybe its sitting right near my jaw
look down, look up
stop paying attention for one minute and its on me

i fight it, look away, try to ignore its existence
deny it if i can
in it rolls, like clouds for a storm
gathering and then overwhelming

It grabs my eyeball and squeezes
trying to push it out through its socket from the inside
i push back and feel it spread across my face
i rock back and forth
i say incantations
i pray
i ask him if this is going to be an aneurysm to just go ahead and get it done
take me
i rock back and forth some more

scalding hot, freezing cold
dark or light
down, then up
back and forth
eventually the perfect rocking motion is found
and then a new motion
the minutes pass into hours

i wonder if i will have these the rest of my life
what happens if this “cluster” doesn’t end
can i gut it out
would i learn to accept them, deal with them
would i be a different person

i get obsessed with this idea
could i handle it?

i cry

i cry out quietly, just whimpering really, not quite moaning
no time for pride or bravado

my labrador retriever kisses my face, liking the salt of my tears

having given into it completely
i sit prostrate and then, like the tide it rolls back out
gently, leaving the beach
strewn with pebbles, shells and jellyfish

still my labrador retriever looks up at me, and wags her tail.

© 2006, Scott Evans


Published April 5, 2006

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