Aged twelve, life seemed an eternity
I stared down a liquid, neon apple, simultaneously wondering why I had no real memories.

The weight of despair had brought me to my knees, 
and I lost my nerve. Though I kept the faith then, that I might live again
Tick, tock.

At nineteen, I languished. Despondence was branded on my face. 
Lead by Dawkins and Hitchens, no longer did I keep the faith,
But I still sought a way out; some respite from the test
Tick, tock

At twenty six, I looked into the abyss. 
Far too shallow, it wouldn’t bring me the end.
‘‘I’ve got engagements to keep…”
“It’s the broad middle of the day.”
“You’ll make a scene. Do not weep.”
Unconvinced, I dialed the phone. I didn’t believe a word she said.
This would fail, I was sure, and I hung up. And I walked away.

At thirty one, I read something somewhere.
Another soil, just show them who, soon, you once were.
A quiet place under the stars, maybe near a lake?
In Delaware. Straight forward enough.
Did I have the nerve?
Tick, tock.

‘‘I’ll go on my own terms.” I like to believe, so I’ve always said,
“No one will decide for me. Not even fate.”
But when the moment comes, will I have the strength?
Will I have the will, since surely, I’ve got the way?
Tick, tock.

Ready. It’s on the wall. 
If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it once more. 
The sense lacks caliber until you’re broken,
Tick, tock.
If you’ve heard enough, dismount it. Destroy it.

Tick, tock.

Retreat into the promise of freedom
Into a darkness sold as eternal. Redeeming.
Into silence, beyond that damnable ticking only in your ears
When you’re left to your demons and your chambers
When you’re draining into shock irreversible
And still, the darkness won’t come.

Tick, tock. 

By Katherine de la Rosa

PoetryJonathan Judge