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Yusef Komunyakaa - My Father's Love Letters

On Fridays he'd open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than men. He would beg,
Promising to never beat her
Again. Somehow I was happy
She had gone, & sometimes wanted
To slip in a reminder, how Mary Lou
Williams' "Polka Dots & Moonbeams"
Never made the swelling go down.
His carpenter's apron always bulged
With old nails, a claw hammer
Looped at his side & extension cords
Coiled around his feet.
Words rolled from under the pressure
Of my ballpoint: Love,
Baby, Honey, Please.
We sat in the quiet brutality
Of voltage meters & pipe threaders,
Lost between sentences . . .
The gleam of a five-pound wedge
On the concrete floor
Pulled a sunset
Through the doorway of his toolshed.
I wondered if she laughed
& held them over a gas burner.
My father could only sign
His name, but he'd look at blueprints
& say how many bricks 
Formed each wall. This man,
Who stole roses & hyacinth
For his yard, would stand there
With eyes closed & fists balled,
Laboring over a simple word, almost
Redeemed by what he tried to say.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 7889 times | Comments and analysis of My Father's Love Letters by Yusef Komunyakaa Comments (2)

My Father's Love Letters - Comments and Information

Poet: Yusef Komunyakaa
Poem: My Father's Love Letters
Poem of the Day: Dec 1 2006

Comment 2 of 2, added on December 21st, 2014 at 2:25 AM.
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Comment 1 of 2, added on November 15th, 2010 at 2:31 PM.
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