October 29, 2019

Who is left behind?

Lauren Galligan, 18

This poem came to me after the recent divorce of my mother and father. The empty chair at the dining table, the three pairs of cutlery instead of four, the absent conversation we shared across meals, all got me thinking about the individual lives that are left behind after an event such as this. The activity I focus on in the poem is that of a mundane meal, an event which now feels alien, reflecting the change in our household dynamic as a result of the divorce, and the structure is fragmented because our lives are fragmented- we cannot hold on to anything familiar because nothing is familiar anymore. It demonstrates the anger of my mother, the confusion of my little sister, and the desperation shown by my dog to place himself into a purpose again, to ask the question ‘who is left behind?’ Who are the ones who suffer the most? It is me. It is my little sister, and the dog, and my mother, who have to continue life as if this is normal, as if nothing has ever changed, and this all feels very impossible.