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Love Letters, a poem by Emma Birkbeck




Love Letters

A love letter to the sweet pleasure

of sipping mango tea beneath the fern's elongated fingers,

where her spliced tendrils mesh with hair grown to my knees

and the finches hop along the sill with their gentle thud, thud, thudding.

A love letter to my father's neighborhood back home, 

to the man who set time on a loop until he fell into the deep sleep one cannot attain by natural means, the bells chiming noisily on their seven minute march. 

An alarm clock for the downtrodden and free.

A love letter to my first car, with her shakes and shivers and inability to quit the endless trudge forward. To the wasp who came to visit on the highway, to the oil seeping out behind, bread crumbs to guide you home. To the eight hundred dollars invested as an act of self love. The millions of curbs we've kissed, the stickers melting on the dashboard, the girl in the back playing heavy metal drums on the headrest. A love letter to the steering wheel who held me, hunched over and screaming and sobbing myself hoarse, whose resin left tiny black flecks across my face, an industrial glitter clinging to the tear tracks. 

A love letter to blown out speakers, and sweaty sheets, and pure soy candles, flickering across your cheekbones in the dead of night. A love letter to how hard I laughed, doubled over in the passenger seat while you perfected your Mickey Mouse impression. A love letter to the drunken midnight walk along the canal, when you held my waist as my feet shuffled closer and closer to the drop. I've always been a clutz. 

A love letter to rooftops, to highway overpasses, to sharp turns, to the graffiti artists, to Jack standing outside the store smoking his cigarette. To you, licking an ice cream cone on the Parthernon's impossibly smooth steps. To the day I came home to you, sitting on my porch and shoveling frozen blueberries into your mouth while the sun fought to bring out the gold in your irises.

Emma Birkbeck is practicing being brave as a writer. She was recently published in Ivy Tech's literary journal New Voices, and now the ball is rolling. She hopes to continue to grow her skills as a writer and a human.