Leftovers by Lachrista Greco
10th Jun 2015
The idea behind these poems is that they represent those little thoughts and feelings that remain after a break-up or an encounter, desired or otherwise: the ‘leftovers’ of the title. It’s a clever concept, and the poems are necessarily short – rarely more than half a dozen lines – to reflect the glimpses into the often painful past that they represent.
These leftovers contain rich pickings, and a complex picture emerges from the scraps. There is bitterness and sadness, of course, but the overwhelming impression is of the strength of our capacity to love, and how it re-emerges like a flower that keeps coming back, even after it has been abused and misused.
This is where Leftovers' strength lies, and time after time Greco turns around a negative encounter to show the indomitable spirit that rises from the ashes. The speaking of this hurt has a cumulative strength, reversing the power dynamics and reclaiming a space that can feel like it is being pulled out from under one’s feet; this collection defiantly shows that no one can dictate a woman’s reaction to rejection or abuse. As in the poem, ‘Tattoo’, where the poet tells of having ‘your shame [inked] onto me’, she goes on to say, ‘It’s now mine to do with however I please—’.
This is where Leftovers‘ strength lies, and time after time Greco turns around a negative encounter to show the indomitable spirit that rises from the ashes.
The collection works best as a whole, and is a far more effective read as a single creation than any of the poems are as a stand-alone work. There are good poems, here, but it is the sense of piecing together a life from these fragments that makes the collection work.
For anyone looking for a deeper exploration of a single idea, the collection may be disappointing, and I did feel it lacked something in its insistence on brevity. However, when taken as a concept collection, and with an understanding of the overall desired effect, it is clear that Greco has created something unique and thought-provoking.