THE NORMALITY OF LEAVING

By Hannah Sutherland

Soap suds and lukewarm water, bubbling beneath

soaking dishes

as I clean. Mundane tasks to block out the pain of you and

your words.

A dullness behind my eyes enters and thuds,

a headache

unwanted. It pounds as I scrub and scrape the memory of you and it,

erasing you

from my life before you’ve even

left.

If you’re going then go, leave me with dishes unclean

thoughts turning

over in my head as I play out where it all went wrong. What I

did wrong.

Our tenant no longer resides inside my empty womb and I know

I am blamed.

But my heart too has stopped beating and we cannot be happy

again.

You are prolonging the agony by waiting around,

‘Are you okay?’

Of course not, I’m fading, I’ve drowned.

I play

our summer over in my mind on repeat, rewinding

a broken record.

Beneath cotton and sweat dripping in happiness

melting

into your body as one like we thought we had become.

Moving together

leaving the earth believing we two were the only people on it

only returning

when each forbidden part of skin was loved so thoroughly.

Careless and carefree.

I know every part of your body as it stands, broadly,

blocking sunlight

in the arch of my doorway. Gawking, waiting for my reaction

‘Go, if you’re going’

I say though I don’t really mean it. Instead swallowing syllables

I want to say

choking me as they meet the lump in my throat on the way down

unsaid, unsaying.

He leaves me then, isolated with my thoughts, my silence

He goes

And I remain entirely alone.


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