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Left behind

I spend a lot of my time walking around Salt Lake City. Recently, I have started noticing things I haven’t seen before. These photos encapsulate those things we leave behind that we don’t realize we’ve forgotten. Whether accidental or intentional, these objects represent more than their names suggests. Each object or collection of objects was found just as they were captured. Accompanied with the photos is a prose poem that summarizes my thoughts with all the things I found.

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An old mechanic shop with out of use gas pumps. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

Left Behind, Kalie Pead

Let’s analyze the things we left behind; the summaries of last Saturday night. The takeout boxes that get pushed to gutters, the passing pedestrians not taking a second glance. The cans and boxes and wayward things we continue to turn not just one blind eye, but two. Let’s expose the history of the loneliest things, the tossed and discarded, the memories and meaning behind it all.

When you walk down streets with empty cup in hand, when half a block becomes six and all of your focus becomes ridding yourself of responsibility and stewardship. Overwhelmed, you find a new place for this thing to call home, a new carrier, a new hand to hold it.

These are the stories that surround us, the one-use plastics, the useless cardboard boxes, the buildings we’ve abandoned because human connection seems too difficult these days. We board them up, evacuate, or sometimes try to excavate the things we left behind. We build buildings quicker than we can use them, consider them washed up among the trash, leave them grand and empty, moving on just as fast.

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Boarded windows of an abandoned buidling in downtown Salt Lake City. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

If I could write a love letter to my city I would start by apologizing for the things we choose to see, and the things we have become accustomed to ignoring. The way our eyes became affixed towards the sky, with every kind of highrise, casting shadows that became homes for the people we left behind. Stairs and empty doorways have become beds and resting places. Planter boxes, shopping carts and shaking highway bridges are now homes to those we wander past.

Let’s analyze the things we left behind; the carelessness, the forgetfulness, the missteps of humanity. A box is just a box, until it’s left behind. A person is a person, even if they’re left behind.

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A paintbrush dipped in yellow paint sitting on a wheel stop. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

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An empty drink cup placed in a traffic cone. (Kalie Pead/The Signpost)

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An empty drink cup laying in the grass of a business courtyard. (Kalie Pead/The Signpost)

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A no parking sign placed off the road, near a fence and sidewalk. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

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A person's entire belongings in a shopping cart, as they sit on stairs outside a business. (Kalie Pead/The Signpost)

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