Half Written Love Letter

By Selina Nwulu

I often imagine my parents came here
after hearing the sea of the British isles.
As if they put their ears to its shell
and the waves threw themselves tipsy
against conch, willing them to come over.

Then there were the things
we understood without words;

how sun in these parts is a slow swell,
the coastal path walks of Dundee,
graffiti hieroglyphics, damp shoes
against Sheffield cobbles and
the tastebud clench of a tart apple.

We learnt this country fiercely;
my father felt its knuckles crush his jaw
my mother delivered its children,
I have been kissed deeply by its tongue
it has licked Yorkshire on my vowels, left me
with the blushed cheeks of a first crush.
I am a half written love letter
it does not know where to send.

So when go home
becomes a neighbourhood war cry,
we understand we are not what you wanted,
have been clean written out of your folklores.
But we have built here, loved here, died here,
already carry the heartache of leaving.
When we go home, we go back reeking of you.

Credits

Reproduced with permission of the author.