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  • Shikha S. Lamba

Cleaning Up Too Soon

By Shikha S. Lamba

You’ll be advised to scrape and scrub, and wipe

down each messy conversation slammed against your walls.

Each bursting their ugliness like grimy shades of beige,

threatening to outlast your precious white coat of paint.

You’ll be advised to straighten out and harmonise all your days,

all the moments that collectively pile up on your coffee table

glaring melancholy, spitting out disappointment.


Hold back the urge to clean up too soon.

Don’t vacuum your dissatisfaction, scoop up the remains

of each blame you hurl out at each other.

Don’t throw away flowers from a Wednesday past. Let them droop.

Let their stems decay in swampy water, let the water run out

and watch as each bud gravitates towards ruin.

Don’t replace them too soon, make your life all pretty

for the sake of pretty. Not that quickly.


Let the wreckage happen.

We must let ourselves rot in the complexity of our lives.

We must sit in our own hideousness, breathe the stench of decay,

let ourselves be dragged like ancient warriors behind a chariot,

bleed a little, agonise a little, we must let ourselves feel

the way something feels just before its complete annihilation.

Then we make our way back.

It’s only then we make our way back.


About Shikha S. Lamba:


Lamba is a jewellery designer and poet living in Hong Kong. She is also the co-editor of an online magazine, Coffee and Conversations. In love with all things creative, she has contributed poems and articles to various publications in Hong Kong, US and India over the years. Passionate about raising awareness about women’s health and mental health issues through her writing, Shikha’s poems often touch on themes such as feminism and social injustice. Lamba admits to living a large portion of her life online and can be found on most social media sites for her writing, jewelry and magazine.


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