The conclusion to the duology began with to make monsters out of girls, to drink coffee with a ghost follows amanda lovelace’s processing of her grief over the death of her mother. This includes poems that focus on her mother’s nurturing qualities as well as her mother’s toxic or abusive qualities. Later, the focus of the poetry shifts to moving on, finding love and solace in a partner, and realizing that is possible to forgive without forgetting.
As always, lovelace’s writing is beautiful. Like so much poetry, theirs is deceptively simple yet full of layers of meaning. Even though I have yet to lose a parent, it’s possible to relate to lovelace’s feelings because they express them so damn well. And as the collection continues, I really enjoyed how its scope broadens to consider the role that our ghosts play in our lives, our decisions.
lovelace touches on the idea of found family, something that really resonates for me. The poem “they’re your real family” really stuck out for me, reading it as I did on my ride or die’s birthday and thinking about all that both of us have been through in recent years:
sharing the same family tree doesn’t often make people stay. find family in the ones who make you laugh uncontrollably. find family in the ones who take your side but also talk you through your wrongdoings. find family in the ones who would hop on a plane & fly across countries the moment you needed them. find family in the ones who rejoice in you. especially when you’re unsure of yourself. find the ones who will face the fire with you.
This is how I feel about my two best friends. This is what I love about lovelace’s poetry—even when the majority of the topics are not things I have direct experience with, there are always a few poems that hit me right in the heart. to drink coffee with a ghost is no exception in this regard.
I guess what I have learned, then, from the last few years of reading lovelace’s poems is the kind of poetry that works for me. As I often reflect upon in these reviews, poetry in general doesn’t appeal. But maybe for me a poem needs a few things: deceptive simplicity, emotional connection, and topics that deal with matters of the human heart—but not just romance. I think I am finally starting to understand why poetry can help someone heal.