Tic. Tic. Tic
Eyes on me as I twitch,
trying to suppress the itch in my chest bubbling up into my throat
And I can only hope that I don’t twitch.
Please stop staring
please stop laughing
I’m trying so hard not to
A beep. A bark. A scream.
All noises that may seem amusing to those
who don’t know me and can’t see that I’m hurting.
All I’m told is to shut up.
There's no compassion at all,
only dissatisfaction and the painful jerks of my neck
and embarrassment at the noises that spill from my mouth like bile,
burning the tip of my tongue as they leave.
And even as the convulsions subside,
I can't help but feel that my body and its betrayal are my cyanide.
My social suicide.
Layla Sisson is 16 and attends Manatee School for the Arts. Her poem “Tic. Tic. Tic.” won an Honorable Mention in the 2022 Manatee Libraries and 805 Teen Poetry Contest.