A Love Letter

by Magda Cychowski


I have seen you burn bridges and food. Your anger can put the
nuclear in nuclear family and you cling to your grudges like life
rafts. I have heard you tell me on my way out the door that my
shoes don’t match my shirt, that my dress is too short, that my
eyes are like my mother’s. Your love is deep, dad, isn’t it? I have
seen you go to sleep in an empty bed without exposing the grief
that sits on your sheets. I grew up falling asleep to the sounds of
your belly so you don’t have to say much for me to know that your
back pain and increase in root canals mean you’re not doing very
well. I have seen you complain about money and mother-in-laws
and age and each time I read her name between the lines, trying to
fill in the gaps of a death you didn’t plan for. I have heard you tell
me to let it go, to find someone else, to have pride, to remember
there are other fish in the sea and I’ve spent your lectures wishing
you could take your own advice. If I knew you’d listen, I’d say
fuck a nuclear family; we are now the three musketeers, the tres
amigos, the boys. We don’t like helping hands, big Thanksgivings
or daily phone calls. We like slaps in the face, kicks in the teeth,
steak off the grill and whiskey on the rocks. I love you for the
way your strength is stubborn, the way you still cook chili better
than her. I love your fronts, your denial, your walls, your love for
dogs. You have made me realize that not all scraped knees require
bandaids and picking at scabs only makes you bleed. I love you for
your graying, balding head, your t-shirts and fishing poles. I love
you I love you I love you (and stop telling me my eyes are like my
mother’s—those have always belonged to you).

Comments are closed.