Standing here, teetering over the edge,
I look back on the life that led me here.
I stop. I think. I let the images
Spring, full-formed into my mind, like perfect
Jewels tumbling out of a sack. I
Take a leap, and let my jewels sparkle.

I feel warmth and comfort, but I cannot
See what is happening to me. My world
Is dark, and I cannot feel the wind on
My face. I feel totally safe, but I
Feel something pushing me away from my
Safety, pushing me out into the light...

I open my eyes, and before me lies
A grassy hill, which towers high over
My home. A tiny cottage at the end
Of a long road. A road that winds a path
To the top of the hill and beyond. I
Want to climb it, and see what lies beyond.

I stand in my schoolyard, and watch myself
Running, playing and stumbling without
Knowing what was to come later in life.
I lived for the day, letting my childish
Ideas rule my life. I didn't want it
To end, and I thought that it never would.

The learning continued much longer than
The laughter and games. In just a few short
Years, I went from a carefree child to a
Sullen, work-obsessed adolescent.
My only friends were my books, and I lived
Each day only to continue my studies.

And what was I to gain from all my toils?
No fame or fortune. No life of luxury.
For all the time I wasted with books, I
Ended up with a meagre job, set up
By my father, with the tiny accounting
Firm that was owned by his old friend.

I hated that job, playing with numbers
Which didn't matter, for people I would
Never see again. Just as I began
To despair, an angel came to me, with
Hair of shining gold, and a smile that would
Melt stone. She was beauty, and I was hers.

Years later, that same angel stood by me,
And promised on all things holy to be
Mine. "In sickness and in health. Till Death do
Us part." My angel was faster than the
Angel of Death. But I feel the wind on
My face, telling me that end too, comes soon.

Years later, that angel gave birth to a child,
And then to another, so that my angel
And I became parents to a pair of
Darling little cherubs. For years, these two
Would bring me joy in my darkest days, just
As their mother had when I first met her.

But their mother no longer gave me the
Same sense of pleasure. We both had aged, and
Both grown apart. Our two children were now
All we two parents shared in common, and
Before long our bond was dissolved. Our
Dearest Love was but a distant memory.

And soon, my former love sought to strip from
Me the only thing that shored up my hopes.
My children were taken from me by a
Lawyer's suit, and a mother's lies, leaving
Me a wreck, a shell of what I might have
Become. A ghost, waiting for my own death.

I stopped going to work, lying in a
Sorry stupor. My boss decided that
I was no longer fit for his firm, so
Leaving me nothing to cling to. No-one
To rely on me. No-one to rely
On. No-one to care if I lived or died.

The jewels stop tumbling, and I see
My fate. A concrete headboard for a long,
Restful sleep. A sleep untroubled by man
Or woman. A sleep like none I have known.
One final sleep.
Without End.

Daniel Bragg