The Coward

"Cowards die many times before their deaths/ The valiant never taste of death but once" – Julius Caesar, Shakespeare

The worst thing is not doing something unexpected

Like someone reaching you for a hug

And giving a slap in return

The sudden hot feeling of horror

As you realise your nightmares are coming true

Or the winded punch-in-the-stomach sensation

Of startlingly awful news

Where your world spins

And you wonder if you'll ever

Touch the ground again

It's not even doing something that's expected

The feeling of heavy disappointment

The shattered wishes of 'second chance'

Everything piling







Until it

Collapses under the weight of the pressure inside

Falls back into old ways

A comfortable, shameful life


What's worse is me





And doing nothing.

All I need to do is say something

Take you aside and say those words

That you don't want to hear

Break your heart

And then let you rebuild yourself

Better, stronger than before

I'd help you do it

But I know -

Of course, I know -

That you don't want to hear what I have to say

I can read you like a book

And I know what your dedication is

On the inside of your first page:

"For Polly".

But me?

I can't.

I couldn't.

Every time I stand on the edge

Of the great precipice

Staring into the abyss

Knowing that as soon as I let go

I'll be saved

If I could only reach that fraction further

Hold my breath a little longer

Call your name when you start to walk away

Answer you when you ask what's wrong

Every single time

I freeze

I become a stalling car

A buffering video

A book without the final pages

And I can't give you your responses.

And why?

Because I'm a coward

"Coward any day"

And I hate myself for it.

Thanks for reading :-)