Tic. Tic. Tic

Layla Sisson

                         Twitch.

                                     Twitch.

                                                Twitch.

Laughter.

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.

                         Tic.

                                      Tic.

                                                    Tic.

.

Please stop staring

please stop laughing

I’m trying so hard not to

                          Tic.

                                      Tic.

                                                    Tic.

 

                          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.

Please,

SHUT UP!

                          ……….

...Shut up.

            Shut up.

                        Shut up.

All I’m told is to shut up.

                        Annoying.

                        Distraction.

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.