Countdown by Olivia Zheng

You’re counting down from three to two to one, but we’re not at a race–we’re not going to blast off the moment you start to enunciate the “o” in the one, the second when the starting gun of the marathon is fired–the countdown is more like a ticking bomb, planted by a terrorist who wants to send a message, where flashing red lines change every second, strapped onto a stack of dynamite in a basement of some old church; somehow, I know that you’re counting, that every minute I stay here and do nothing to remove the bomb will only push me closer to my obliteration, that if I really tried to pry you out from under my skin I might survive the fall, that I might be able to claw away at myself and dig into my raw, bleeding flesh to extract your mark, to rid your scar, but that for some reason, I stay–maybe I’m just obsessed with the cartoon explosion that I know won’t happen, maybe I’d rather be blinded by a flash of white light up close, than a flare of hell off to the side, and maybe I don’t want to deal with the aftermath.