Amanda’s nephew died after he accidentally overdosed on heroin. She believes drugs should be legally regulated to help keep people safe. Read her story here. 

“My nephew should have come through to live the life he wanted, maybe with a loving partner, with a family of his own,  that is never going to happen now. How we are with drugs really needs to change, to take away the secrecy and the stigma. If users could get safe (unadulterated) drugs, the best advice, maybe it would be different, at least for some. I will never know if that would have helped him, but it must be worth a try, for all the others like him.”

Below are three poems that Amanda has written in loving memory of Ira.

To my nephew, Ira

The ancient Greeks would have summoned you,  I understand that.

The hero, at great cost, reaches the silent river,
bargains with the Ferryman
to find you, to speak one more time.
And what could be said, what could I say?
A reproach? No. Maybe only this-
‘We love you, we miss you.’
Other voices speak, their echo comforts me.
I know that you are gone. I trust that love remains-
a crystal forming in the earth
from waiting, silence, absence, memory.


What words would reach you
What ancient language, heard in Atlantis

lost to us now

Where is the trace of your footsteps
in this forest, this desert, this crowded street

where someone, not you, is walking away

Your absence travels like an echo
sings like a note in a cave

deepens and lengthens like silence

In my mind, I turn these thoughts of you
like turning a stone in my hand
circling around that one hard fact
the grit in the oyster, slowly becoming a pearl


A woman with no children, I grieve for my sister’s son.
My grief like an awkward guest,
looking from face to face.
I speak to rain, to earth, to witness

You were precious to me. I miss you.

Where can I stand to speak of this-
no room contains you now.

I look for you and find my love for you

lingering like an echo
or like the scent of roses

sweet, clear, laughing at time.