“My Father's Love Letters” by Yusef Komunyaaka

In Yusef Komunyaaka's poem “My Father's Love Letters,” he writes about a family that has been separated. The mother had left her child and husband behind. The father was trying to get her to come back by writing letters to her. The poem is told in first person from the child\'s perspective. The speaker is a child of the parents and it could be a son or daughter. The speaker describes the father and the things he did. The descriptions of the father could help imply why he is that way.

The poem “My Father’s Love Letters”  tells how a child wrote love letters for his or her father to the mother who had left. The father would come home and get drunk and ask his child to write a letter for him. In the lines “Taller than men. He would beg,/ Promising to never beat her/Again. Somehow I was happy,” (Lines 5-7), he tells the child to write in the letter how he would not beat her again. The speaker would write reminders to the mother as to why she left in the first place.

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The speaker knew the mother loved the father, and he or she did not want her to get hurt again. . He or she would write how “Mary Lou /Williams\'s “Polka Dots & Moonbeams”/ Never made the swelling go down” (9-11). The child did not leave with the mother but maybe they wanted to. The speaker says “We sat in the quiet brutality/Of voltage meters & pipe threaders,/ Lost between sentences…”(19-21). The speaker could also be getting abused by the father. He or she could probably want their mother to come back for them or maybe the child just misses her. 

The mother would often remind the father that she still loved him but she had to get away. His mother “who sent postcards of desert flowers/ taller than men” (4-5). She would send the father postcards with deserts flowers that would be called beautiful but could also hurt. She was trying to tell him their love was beautiful but it was also painful. The speaker says “Of my ballpoint: Love,/ Baby, Honey, Please,” (17-18) while writing the letter.

In the letter, he or she tried to use words to help beg for the mother to come back. The speaker also said “ I wondered if she laughed/ & held them over a gas burner” (26-27). His mother probably burned the letters and never really took them seriously. She probably would not had believed the father had used those words while writing the letter. He is described as a violent person so it probably does not seem like him.

This poem also suggests that the father is illiterate. The speaker says “My father could only sign/ His name,” (29-30) while he would write the entire letter. He also says his father would stand there “With eyes closed and fists balled,/ Laboring over a simple word, almost/ Redeemed by what he tried to say” (35-36). His father could be trying to express his emotions but he does not know what to say, so he just sit there and ball his fists. This is probably why he asks his son to write the letter for him. This could also explain why he resorts to violence because the only thing he probably knows is anger.

The father could be described as a working man. The speaker said “but he\'d look at blueprints/ & say how many bricks/Formed each wall” (30-32). The child was admiring his or her father\'s work ethic. He was a violent person, but the speaker felt like he was a great worker. The father knew how to only sign his name, but he could do his job well. The father was probably put under a lot of pressure at work because he did not have an education. This could be the thing he was angry about but could not explain it. This is what caused him to make his wife leave. The father, “Who stole rose & hyacinth/ For his yard”(33-34), was trying to become a more gentle man to bring his wife back. Perhaps that is why he stole the flowers, he thought maybe they will attract her. 

This is important because it shows that men could be emotional also. This poem shows how a husband was unable to express his emotions. He wanted to communicate that he wanted his wife to come back but he did not know how to. The poem shows how the father was illiterate and could not say simple words. Maybe the father was angry at something, but could not express it. This is probably what resorted to him beating his wife. This is important because this shows men could be emotional also. The father really loves his wife, but he is unable to express his love for her. 

He did not know how to write the letter to show he loved her. This is why he asks his child to write the letter for him. He wants to be able to say the right things so his wife would come back. The mother is probably happy with leaving because she probably could not leave the first time. This is important because many women go through domestic violence situations. Many women are not able to leave from those situations but she was able to go. The mother still loved the father as she would postcards, but she could probably be happy with leaving him. 



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