Letterbox Love Notes


Emily Warner (she/her)

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Image by Maria Orlova

By Emily Warner

Listening to the sound of the rain in the dark
Narcissus flowers bloom on my eyelids.
The quiet paints lilac brushstrokes on the floor and
I am cradled in a crib of memories,
head resting in a nook where the door meets the wall.
The house opens one idle eye; slitted, feline, purple-tinge
cold to touch and colder to press my ear to.
The breath of the outside floods in through the letterbox.

Amidst scattered leaflets and mail and the four corners
of a postage stamp, she writes love notes onto my lips.
Lemon and ginger. Kisses that linger.
Pulling me closer by the belt loops of my jeans so we are hidden
by the bowed head of an umbrella.
Breath misting the air, we wear one fleece
and watch our reflections hurry down the street to
eat ice cream in the rain.

‘I bet nobody’s ever done this with you before’ she says,
Clearing the salt and pepper from the kitchen table.
‘Nobody’ I try to write, scribbling poetry on the back cover of the map.
I am realising one language isn’t enough. Personne, nadie, niemand…
Mahal kita.
But I missed something she said and now she’s turning off the light.
Counting out love with cups of tea
which stamp beige circles on the arm of the settee;
a constellation of footprints marching across the history of -
‘Would you like another cup?’
‘Yes please’.

And my heart unfolds like origami;
A swan, unfolding her paper wings only to realise they are tissue
and the moon can peer in through the window
and I wonder why her eyes are damp when I can
hear the rain on the roof. No cup of tea can disintegrate me
Like the tears that she drops on my arms
as I hold her and try not to shake; try not to break
Since when could I feel my heart?
Perhaps since my bones became prison bars.

But then I’m singing in the car.
Mariah Carey, even though it’s only just November
and the weather says ‘no sign of a white Christmas’.
All those quiet spaces,
are held within light that streams through a window pane.
Sadness, contentment, tenderness, stencilled
on the wall like framed portraits; somewhere behind us
held between bricks of slate.
We will bury them when love notes are pushed through the door
and curl up on the doorstep to sleep.