Dead Letter Office Full of Love Notes or Email Drafts to Fathers by Yana Lyandres

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Dead Letter Office Full of Love Notes or Email Drafts to Fathers

We were an old couple at 11
and maybe it’s common heritage
or maybe you saw a future in me
I couldn’t see in myself.

I don’t deal in heart-shaped cards,
chocolates or those streetlight-like-a-spotlight
we’re-the-only-ones-who-matter moments
and when boys tell me
how our embraces in the rain are so romantic,
I: shudder, delete number, leave, next one.

I keep writing you letters
to leave on your tombstone because
thinking of you as dead
is easier than thinking of you as alive
because wouldn’t someone who’s alive
want to see their daughter?

I try to list out my achievements
for you but being good at missing texts,
social outings, sarcasm on job applications
and waiting for the day to end
are not things I should be proud of.

Every reflection of myself I’ve fallen for
has been a mistake
but only because you never taught me
how to bring a kind of light into my heart
that no longer makes these bones feel so heavy.

We haven’t talked in years
and I’m almost twenty.
My mother’s twenties were her
birthing years
but I’m still sitting here staring
at crushes’ Facebook pics,
Internet buffering—these messages
do not send.

I can’t sit
in this empty
house anymore.
These letters are
starting to feel like
chain mails
I no longer have
the storage for
in my head.


Yana Lyandres

Yana Lyandres is a student studying French and Creative Writing at New York University and plans to teach high school when she graduates.