you are not here is a wonderfully written exploration of a young woman attempting to make sense of her life and her brief relationship with a young man who suddenly dies.
AnnaLeah and Brian's relationship was a clandestine one - neither of their families knew about it. AnnaLeah's friends were not supportive of her relationship with Brian, telling her to find someone else. But when Brian dies suddenly, AnnaLeah finds that she has no outlet for her grief and because the relationship was secret, she cannot grieve publicly. She has no one to share her grief and loss with. So AnnaLeah takes to visiting Brian's grave regularly.
As AnnaLeah withdraws more and more, her friends who are concerned, give her a book about grief and encourage her to reach out. This combined with a few choice words of wisdom from Brian's grandmother who tells her at Brian's gravesite that "Nothing grows here besides grass." help AnnaLeah to free up some of space in her heart for the rest of her life.
New information about Brian also helps AnnaLeah to revisit the nature of their relationship and to see it in a more realistic way. And a new blossoming relationship with Ethan at her new job help to convince AnnaLeah that she must move on.
Samantha Schutz's free verse is elegant, poignant and on the mark. Excellent and considering the subject matter, a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the poetry. Beautiful!
There are spaces in my heart
that are being filled
by what could have been with Brian,
and the stories
about my father and the Dearly Departed.
I think I need to free up some of the space
for the people in my life
that are actually here.
I need to not keep that space reserved
for people who are never coming.
you are not here by Samantha Schutz
New York: PUSH 2010