Yusef Komunyakaa

(April 29, 1947 / 1947)

My Father's Love Letters - Poem by Yusef Komunyakaa

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.


Comments about My Father's Love Letters by Yusef Komunyakaa

  • (10/28/2019 9:01:00 AM)

    this poem is weely intersting (Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: concrete, sunset, baby, sometimes, father, happy, mother, lost, home, flower, rose



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Saturday, May 30, 2015


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