Author: Reagan Myers
Publisher: Button Poetry
First Published: August 17, 2021
Format: ARC, eBook
Afterwards is a book about the things that come after trauma. It encompasses the different kinds of grief― primarily the loss of a friend to suicide, but also the loss of an important relationship, and dealing with some loss related to family. There are frank discussions of mental illness and the spectrum of emotions that come with moving forward.
Losing a loved a love one is hard, but the loss of a loved one to suicide is even harder. It’s difficult because it’s preventrable, and it’s hard to explain the feeling of helplessness afterwards. This collection of poetry details the grief that comes with losing a friend, but it is other things too. Myers explores the loss of family, depression, and sexual assault. There are a handful of good poems, such as The Girl Becomes Gasoline which was what made me decide to pick this book up.
“I don’t know when I became a space to be filled. My thigh an open lease, my neck a wishing well, and his hot breath, a coin, a demand, cast into me.”
Several of the poems reference the death of Mac Miller, who had died of an accidental drug overdose in 2018. Myers mentions how Mac Miller had passed around the same time that she had lost one of her best friends to suicide, which she ties in to plans unfinished. What happened to Mac Miller is tragic and he should certainly be remembered, and maybe I just don’t understand American celebrity culture, but the fact that he was brought up over and over felt out of place.
But I digress, as a whole the collection is pretty decent. The themes of the book are true to life and I appreciated Myer’s willingness to share her authentic self.
Warnings: Death, suicide, sexual assault, sexual harassment