A poetry and audio piece created by Kate, about the experience of leaving friends and loved ones around the country, and the imprints they leave on you.
Did you leave a part of yourself somewhere in my life?
Deep inside these lilting foundations, the bedrock of my house.
Did you leave a part of yourself behind?
Your keys, your jumper, your mother’s best advice –
to breathe in, to breathe out, to close my eyes and wait.
Lord, it’s been so long but my lungs remember you.
You. All of you. Many of you. Every friend I have loved before
has left these fragments behind.
The tiny Colosseum she bought back from Rome, or the ivy grown
from the roots wrapped around their front gate.
The way I do my eyeliner, and how I test the water’s heat.
Why I say snicket over ginnel, and always sit in the same
upper deck spot, whenever I catch the 555.
I drink tea because my friend boiled the kettle on a school residential.
I double knot my laces because a girl I no longer talk to
showed me how, hunched over against
the late-night rain, fighting the calls to come home.
And the boy next door, who moved away, who moved across the sea,
told me that cats have thirty-two muscles in each ear, and I still remember that.
And what I don’t remember, my body still does. My language, my values,
my history does. We may not talk, but my words are sweet when I speak of you.
You left a part of yourself in my life, and I left
these quiet little things in yours. Unintentional, unassuming.
A kind of peaceful offering.
Every single friend whose brush I borrowed has a strand of my hair.
Every single friend I confided in keeps my secrets safe.
I recommended lavender once to a girl crying in the street,
and she falls asleep a little softer because of me.
I’ve left more people behind than places, but I still get the feeling
that our lives are transparent. Our lives shine through each other
like beacons burning from hill to hill, and I am the sum of all your parts.
The colosseum, the ivy, the eyeliner, the heat.
The snicket, the bus seat, and cups of tea.
Parts of me belong to you, so if you wanted to come back for them,
if you could find your way through all these years, all these
paths divided and lives collided,
and reclaim the moments you left, the parts you left behind – then, please do.
It’s been so long. I know, my friend, the distance only grows.
It’s been so long, but you’re still there.
You know, I’d welcome you all back home.
By Kate Asquith
Illustration by @marisacraneartist