I PROMISE TO DIE by John Tustin


Another night alone here
In every sense
With all my senses intact for now
And all my nonsense, too.

The room is dark,
Sharp with the moving shadows of the night,
The footsteps louder in the distance than they were the night before –
Made with the black boots of inevitability.

The lightning strikes closer.
The thunder pierces the ear with her bolts.
I’m so tired but I can’t sleep yet.
I will. I’ll sleep eventually
And I’ll rise again
Until I finally can’t.

Not won’t: Can’t.
Life, it can’t kill me.
Only death can kill me
And I hear her black boots clomping on the wet grass
In a distance still far but closer.

The moon outside no shinier, no duller –
Just being the moon.

I promise to die
Only when it’s my time to die
And not to die just because I surrender,
Because I’d rather,
Because I’m afraid.

I’ll only die when the sound of the black boots is blood boiling in my ears.
Only then will it be the time –
I say in my mind with a resolute finality,
Looking up through the window as
The moon smiles the wan crooked smile of someone unbaffled and indifferent,
Stoic and eternal.




John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

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