The One I Needed to Write 

Courtney Galligan

He needed to die.

Without you there would have been more.

He did love you in the only way he knew how.

And when his girl was born all he could

See was your tears in her eyes.

She seems so sad.

And she never even had to know the truth.


And he would have…?


But because of me…

He knew what he would do.

At the first sight of dawn he called your mom.

I know that part but why.

He wanted to apologize to you,

To take back the damage he knew he had done

But he knew you wouldn’t understand you were far too young.


He gave your sorry to her to hold.

She forgot to pass that on. Must’ve slipped her mind.

As she flew out the door to try

and save him, leaving me behind.

Unfortunately, you were her lesson too.

Was that why I was born!?

To just be your tool!

Calm yourself girl, don’t be a fool.

I stood there in shock as he smiled so bright.

Let me finish my story to show you my might.


He knew she was coming though not soon enough

He stumbled to bed, knowing this would be tough

The metal was cool and the trigger so light

He tapped on it twice to even the sight.

There was no way to prepare and he heard her pull in

He held the gun steady under his chin

Before the door open he gritted his teeth

And switched to his temple without pausing a beat.

He was gone in an instant and her attempts were in vain.


But his daughter was safe?

And I was to blame?

I was used and abused to teach lessons to others.

To save those deemed worthy

So they could love one another.

And you just stood by

Watching me suffer!

Why am I here if I’m not worth your bother.

My girl, you were loved

Every step of the way.

You clearly weren’t there

You don’t have a say!

Oh, but I was. No matter the cost.

How do you think you survived all that loss.

I held onto you tight

and healed your dreams every night.


For every lesson you taught

I gave you more heart

And in case YOU forgot that was your art.

Through drugs and disease and liars

And thieves, through pain and denial

And you compromising your own survival.

You always had hope, you always were free,

You always were loved,

And you always had me.

Courtney Galligan is a senior in the English Department's BA/MA program at the University of Albany. She is the Managing Editor of NY Writer’s Compendium. A project that she created during her time at the University with the support of her faculty advisor and the NYS Writers Institute. This is her first published submission.