Thursday, August 08, 2019

John Kaprielian: Letters From My Father

Words were not just words
in my father’s house
they had weight
and character
and were not to be
placed on a page

He thought about them
differently than I do
with a designer’s eye
not a poet’s
he loved them just as much.

Words and letters
serifs and sans
leading and kerning
points and

I was born into this.
my baby book was a
California job case.

When he died
his house was filled with
so many words
type books
old jobs
and a bag of
wooden type
old and mildewed.
Mostly his initials –
Ws and Ks
with a smattering
of others
I guess he liked.

They used to live in his office;
a few I remember from walls or shelves
in the house where I grew up.
A tall and sleek J I always liked
rich with wood grain
sat dejected in the bottom of the bag.

I spent a good part of a day
cleaning my father’s letters
brushing and washing and oiling them
till they looked as I remembered them
so many years ago.

Despite the lack of vowels
they speak to me
murmuring stories from the past
a physical manifestation of
one of my father’s
many voices
in wood


 John Kaprielian

This poem originally appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine

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