An Old Typwriter

My father wrote letters on an old typewriter

That he didn’t keep. I found them,

Straining in the confines of

An open-mouthed baggie,

And wondered who had kept them.

Unfolded delicately, because they were like

Finding autumn leaves in a winter landscape,

Their stories were different

From the ones he told my siblings and me.

His crush was not my mother.

It was some girl named Cindy, or Sandy,

With long amber hair, in an age

When his hair wasn’t white.

Honestly I don’t remember the name of that woman,

(And probably, neither does he)

Nor what color hair she might have had.

I know just the shock of a Kim’s lack, and

Surprise at the youth my old man


My letters are in the ether,

But my diaries are of this world,

And I wonder if my children will be shocked

To learn of a vivid, youngster’s life before them,

Before their father, when my eyes were wide

With endless possibilities for lovers and dreams.

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2 Responses to “An Old Typwriter”

  1. nitamitch Says:

    I particularly like the the lines referencing the specific manner of opening the letters and the imagery of finding the autumn leaves in winter. Very nice imagery and it allows to the reader to gain a sense of fragile the letters have become with the years. I also like that you said that the stories were different and that you left the lingering question about your children and what they will think about your letters.

    The main critique I would give is to spruce up the title a bit. I think your poem is way more interesting than your title is hinting at. Also I was a little confused at the name mention of Kim because I was unsure who this person was exactly. A little unclear around that section. The other names that are mentioned, fit in perfectly well. Easily understood.

  2. leelzebub Says:

    Thanks for commenting! Once I posted it and took a look at what I had written from a reader’s perspective (a step back), I realized that some of it would undoubtedly be confusing. It made sense to me because I had the background story.

    I really don’t like the last stanza much, it feels disjunct with the first bit of the poem. I think I want to write more about the letters before transitioning to my own thoughts about them.