A free-verse poem about the loss of leaving and growing up

by Olivia Son / Garnet & Black

 A room may look emptier without its furniture, 

but it will always be full of memories — of glow-in-the-dark stars 

still stuck to the ceiling, worn drapes forgotten on the floor,

holes on the wall left over from posters first tacked all those years ago.

Even bare, this room holds more of you than anyplace else.

You want to strip the room of this essence, find the pieces of yourself

you lost long ago, scraps shoved under the carpet or bathroom sink

out of fear that some stranger would crush them with cruel hands.

You wonder how much of this you will forget; in a few years,

you may come back and find that the carpet only covers the bare floor

and the bathroom sink holds nothing but an empty soap dish,

or that you’ve forgotten how you once decorated this place; 

those scraps will all have been swept away by time,

and you will become the stranger you were once afraid of.

Maybe that’s for the best, though; maybe it’s better 

to be the person that’s leaving instead of the one who’s left,

the one stepping out of the door instead of the child sitting by the window, 

morning after morning, striving to see a sunrise that’s just out of view. 

If you leave, you could finally see the Sun, see the way something begins its journey,

Over and over again, without ever being stuck.

You constantly ask yourself how long you may feel unwelcome 

in any new place you try calling home, how long 

before the idea of leaving won’t feel like a betrayal.

You used to ponder these questions before you went to bed, 

making constellations from your glow-in-the-dark stars, 

hoping to find some type of meaning in this medley.

Now, you stare at blank walls, still looking for that answer,

but you won’t find it here. You won’t find yourself

in the empty places that were once meant just for you, 

and you cannot hold so many pieces of the person you were

when you already have so much to carry. 

Even if you’re still unwilling to leave, 

this is the thought that pushes you out the door, 

arms full of boxes, shoulders weighed down by memories.