Written by Michaela Lavelle.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.

Honorable Mention in the Spring 2019 Creative Competition, “Challenge.”

Every exhale is a knickknack I put on your shelves

Coat on the rack and shoes at your door

I make myself at home

moving in my favorite memories, my greatest fears, mugs, goals, dreams, plates and picture frames

My fingers touch the thermostat

    “This is too much.”

I pack boxes of what pieces of myself I can find

Some things

I am not sure if they belong to me or to you

Should I leave some on purpose?

Hoping they’re enough a part of the décor to go unnoticed for a while

then too painful to throw away

The door locks behind me.

I get lost on the walk back but not on purpose this time

The stars shake their heads at me as I cross streets without looking

I don’t mean to be careless

But not crying takes a lot of concentration and I cannot let anything

Drop.

Tears stain the lumpy couch I never bother to replace

Always so quick to move out, slow to move back in

Here the floors creak and the paint wears and

even though it’s mine

it’s hard to love

But I want to.

I slowly begin to trace hearts in the dust

And try to feel more like the home I wanted to make out of you.

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