The Worst Moment of Her Life: A Prose Poem

by Amy Stephenson-Yankuba

This is an extract from a short play Amy wrote about suicide. Amy is an autobiographical artist so this piece here is inspired heavily by true events.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Self-harm, suicide.



“Loathing reality the way I do, I had to make it absurd in some way. In my youth, I would often find myself witnessing some incredibly harrowing events in which I am not ‘the protagonist’, but as a lone bystander, these moments became part of MY story by default and so I tend to store them away to find some catharsis later on. And here it is. It’s best read out loud.”


The wee hours of the morning. Low light leaks in, past the awnings. Slow. Blue. In neglecting the elusivity of sleep I have erred. I think of her. I think of me. I try my best to distract myself, welcome in some sleep with the help of my right hand. Oxytocin, vasopressin, melatonin, my qualms begin to disband. There’s just us, everywhere, and it never ends. Then from her lips: 

“Let’s at least try and stay friends?” What’s that doing there? My eyes fly open and my bed is as decidedly uncrowded as it was when I closed them. 


I’m breathless, restless. A drink. I exorcise myself from the sweaty, tangled sheets, drift down the stairs, till the bottoms of my feet meet tentatively with the cold linoleum of the kitchen floor. Water. Whisky? Water. Whisky… Why not both? I have two hands after all. Sometimes my bad 

habits cast a pall but I’m sleepless, and my resolve to change or to improve remains small. I’m heavier now and I slump to the living room, sink into the armchair that sits there. Whisky’s my eventual sole companion – I abandoned the water in the kitchen. I’m more the fool for thinking that myself I might be kidding. I set the TV volume to low and the light that it exudes flickers past my vision, right past the hollows and ruts of my brain, where I sit with my thoughts, undisturbed by the banal shit and news reports that are cast across the many thousand pixels. I flit back through my mind. I hear my mother crying. Witness her strife as I relive the worst moment of her life. See her crumple to the floor as she implores “I don’t know how to help you.” She cries: “I don’t know how to stop this.” She’s helpless. This admission comes before a visible recoil from the sanguine gore flooding from my left wrist onto the bathroom tiles where I’m statuesque, sedentary, my knees level with my chest in front of me. Soulless, I regard her and mutter “You’re dead to me. I want to be left to rot – only misery for company. And eventually, the hand around my neck will tighten its grip and the one that cradles the back of my head, scratching, scratching, will break the final layer of skin, carve through the cranium and rip away the last of my cowardice and the loathsome, reluctant and detestable compulsion that I have to stay.” 


Fall the tears that she cries as she laments my words, my decay and… well, the word demise seems emotive in a way that threatens to misconstrue my apathy. So instead I’ll say: my ineluctable, and devised expiry. Those tears, they mix and merge and coalesce with the blood. The floor, awash with the concoction, starts to flood. The taps begin to spray, the shower gush, the toilet brims, the cistern overflows, the bath bulges and bursts. There’s blood and water up past my neck – I’m submerged. I open my eyes and just as I do, a fleck, a glimmer, a fish? What is it? Floats past. The stinging is gone. The ringing has stopped. My focus is on this tiny speck of light. I’ll catch it. I’d like to keep it, if I might. My fingers splay as I centre it over my palm and as I grasp, before I can touch it, feel it, get a sense of what it might be, its texture, its underwater weight, I’m back in the living room – and I’ve spilled my fucking drink on the floor.

Written by Amy Stephenson-Yankuba

Instagram: @SucculentTC

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