‘Leaving Home’ by Shruti Shukla

Going to every room, touching every wall—
embracing, feeling, absorbing
like you can take it away, along
some of it at least.

You can see yourself
little, fragile, undamaged
in your summer courtyard of 1998
running, falling, giggling, fighting;
now hush those fights in your head,
all of ‘em are over.

The first time you looked in the living-room-mirror
standing on a footstool, only four. The first taste
of hard work. First time someone disappointed you
and when you disappointed yourself.
The first feel of first love before you even knew
what it was. The first time you lied
and the time you had the courage
to tell the truth, many years later.

All the first times, these big moments will stay
and a myriad of small ones, which happened in between
they will haunt—in the middle of a hectic day,
just before an important meeting, on a Saturday evening
during a house party right when you’re laughing your loudest.

The last time you look in the mirror
of your empty living room, now lifeless—
no footstool, no light, no need.
Just a silhouette, your own, dark but defined
grown-up, strong, damaged, or nearly so;

but you’ll not cry today
honey, you are too tired for it.

Poet’s Bio: Shruti Shukla, a creative writing graduate from the University of Sheffield, lives in Mumbai India. A literature enthusiast, Shruti finds great comfort in writing poetry and short fiction. She has contributed to several websites and creative writing journals like FilterCopy, Wingword Short Story and Poetry, and Route 57. She also likes exploring her writing skills in different fields, and has been involved in working for media and digital marketing sectors for the last 3 years.

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