22/30 Prompt: Write About Packing Up Your Place
You think it would be easy
To leave a place that was never yours to begin with,
But you are no Bedouin –
You like to settle.
You would prefer to force your roots up through concrete sidewalks,
Punch your branches through aluminum siding to reach sunlight,
Grow on an angle to dodge buzzing power lines,
Rather than simply move…
Rather than disappoint someone.
Even though you hate that the kitchen has no counter,
You think the painting of the giraffe is ugly,
And you resent picking up his pants from the front hall everyday,
You still cry tears of regret as you shove garments into garbage bags.
Do you do the dirty dishes in the sink before you go?
Do you make him one last glass of chocolate milk to leave in the fridge for old time’s sake?
What can you do to make this more “okay”?
You want to touch things,
Leave fingerprints all over the apartment like a crime scene.
You want to write apologies on the walls with your blood,
To carve out the bullets of his words from your body
And place them on the table he bought from Ikea
That he told you that you loved so very much.
You know that he would only tell you that these bits of metal ugliness
Still coated with strings of your fascia
Clashed with his décor.
The truth is that every bit of who you are
Has never co-ordinated with the couch,
Your soul has never matched with the china,
Your heart never snapped into place when it came to his life’s puzzle.
You leave the picture of you together on the mantle,
The one where he had your face pressed into his chest
So that he took up the entire frame except for your back.
Once, that photograph made you feel like he was holding you,
Keeping you safe, warming you with his very heart.
Now, you realize he was trying to smother you,
Killing you with what came from his core,
Absorbing you into his body until you were no longer separate.
You vomit when you remove the mezuzah
Knowing that technically, he’s more Jewish than you’ll ever be,
But you are the only one who kisses it,
And he will just throw out that holy scroll with G-d’s name written on it
Just like he threw away his grandfather’s prayerbook,
Just like he threw away the gifts from your bridal shower.
You are the one leaving,
And yet somehow, you are still the one being left behind.
You take one last look at “your home”
Because you know there will be no going back
For forgotten items,
For missed opportunities,
For stray kisses that might have been pushed under the couch during vacuuming.
Although you have your boxes of books and your university degree wrapped in the quilt
Someone bought you as a wedding present,
You know that you are leaving things behind.
There will always be fibres of your being floating with dust motes in the air.
There will always be pieces of your heart scratched into the laminate flooring.
There will always be the whispers you spoke into that hole in the closet where the drywall crumbled.
Will the next people who live in your place
Catch the lingering fragrance of your pain
In their clothes
When the windows have been shut too long?
This work, “Untitled” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.