leaving home

“leaving home,” “leftovers” and “moving on”

by Noellyn Novak

leaving home

leaving home

a picture taken every day,

deposits

for my heart

through my eyes

one day you’d leave

and i’d have you

right there,

in my pocket,

in my hands,

always

i thought

on the day you spread your

wings I scrolled through albums,

dismayed, finding not one

single photograph

of you

pages

pages

pages of likenesses,

of smiling empty shells,

of emotionless tears,

of disconnected moments, of

joy, yet still…

something missing

hours

hours

hours of snippets

of film, twirling ribbons around your head,

of trampolines, of the park,

on buses, in plays, at dinner

mine, ours, yet foreign

incomplete

in dreams i feel your animation

in photographs i see your form,

and with this separation of essence and

image, the distance between us grows

had i contorted, squeezed myself

into one of the many suitcases, you’d

have left that one behind

when you went

rightly so, freedom-seeker

i didn’t have you

so i could keep you

leftovers

you left a spoon on the counter, sitting

atop a plate, accompanied by a

now-molded teabag drenched in milk,

a reminder of how you always forgot to

remove the bag before adding it

you left your hair on the shower wall, flicked

haphazardly in clumps then swirled artfully as you

thought about getting out to throw it away,

stopping, because you’d remember, you thought,

yet never did

you left your book on my chair, precariously

dangled over the armrest to mark your page as

you fell asleep on my arm after telling me you

weren’t tired, you just wanted to rest your eyes,

and i carried you to bed

you left coconut oil and nutritional yeast,

shatavari, triphala, ashwagandha, cumin, strewn

across the table, purposes unclear, names

unpronounceable, tokens of tastes i could not

replicate without your instruction

you left notebooks on our shelves, some filled,

some unfinished, all containing the parts of you i

never knew, secret thoughts for your mind only,

and though even now i would not read, for a

moment i feel you when i brush my fingertip

across their spines

you left your car at the side of the road in the night

a year ago, hazard lights flashing, doors open and

keys in the ignition, purse on the passenger seat

and phone on the ground, ringing,

silenced, ringing, silenced, dead

i left everything where you left it, my feelings

frozen too, so if one day you chose to come home

you would walk through the door as if stepped

back in time, find all as it was, for no amount of

space, nor reason, years, nor pain, could render

you replaceable

moving on

the phone i bought two months before he died,

replaced, expensively, to

lighten the weight of oft-repeated

voicemails and re-read texts

in my pocket

kept it in a drawer to open

only after popping the cork

from bottle number two,

or was it three

or four?

“it’s me, call me back,

it’s me, call me back,

it’s me, call me back…”

if i could...

for months, on repeat

one evening i dropped the

phone in my glass, bubbles

of poison encasing what

remained of his voice and i

rescued it

sealed it in a box of rice,

revived

vowed to never endanger it again

“it’s me, call me back,

it’s me, call me back,

it’s me, call me back…”

more months, more repeats

one morning i met someone in

the park who had his eyes and

we took a walk until noon

i missed you while you were gone

floated words in my head

for months, no repeats

no corks

just walks

and more

one day my walkmate dropped

his phone in the river, sank

to the bottom, and i couldn’t

rescue it

i have a spare one at home

i said he could have

i’m not using it any more

About the Author

Noellyn Novak

Noellyn Novak likes to play with words in her free time, and wishes she had more of both.