An Unsent Letter to a Person I Used to Love

Dear Ani,


Ani ohev at.

Hebrew for "I like you".

I struggle at learning languages,

Illiterate until the end of second grade,

taught myself to read,

taught myself to write.

In the fourth grade,

my teacher told me that I don't write properly,

I don't grip the pencil properly because wrapping

is evidently not an appropriate form of holding.

She said I made too many mistakes;

I've been writing with pen ever since.


Ani ohev at.

It's Hebrew for "I like you".

Most of what we communicate is body language.

Sign language became a comfort for me in the fifth grade

whenever "no" became a prominent answer from the opposite sex.

My teachers told me I talk with my hands too much,

 my friends told me I cry too much.

 I've held heart in hand ever since.


Ani ohev at.

It's Hebrew for "I like you".

I struggle at learning languages, so

I'm sorry if I was slow to grasp the lesson

when you came unexpected. I stood static,

feeling the moment generate electricity. And

I should've charged my heart

so I could throw it into the jail I call my rib cage:

at least then you would've had to crack me open first.

I told you, "be careful.

I'm teaching it to talk." So


you tutored me,

and we dove deep enough for memories to drown in our shallow ends.

Heart-to-heart and body-to-body,

I learned language. I'm sorry

if I struggled a little too much for your liking,

I never made it easy, I'm sorry

if I was slow to learn the lesson,

I never made it easy. I'm sorry

if I practiced too much,

I need to submerse myself in order to swim


'cause God knows I learned by getting pushed into the deep end.

The lifeguard was never on duty.

Swimming was never easy.

Language was never easy.

I always made talking to me easy

but I never made loving me easy.


I have a tendency to show that limits don't exist –  

a tendency to find my own limits.

I had to drown before I could swim.

I became afraid of the deep end so I stayed shallow

because my heart stopped beating

sometime between loving and trusting.


Ani ohev at.

It's Love for "I like you"

I'm sorry if my Hebrew is broken,

but sounds tend to whistle through the cracked pieces.

I told my vase, "it's okay to be broken

because your cracks leak water into the garden around you."

But maybe I was just reminding myself.

Some say I'm shaky,

but really I can feel the electricity crackling,

waiting for you to touch hand before heart

and break jail cells to release the innocent prisoner.


Ani ohev at.

It's Love, for" I love you."

I say it in a language you don't understand

so that you don't pull me into the deep end,

'cause electricity is best conducted in water, and

I would rather be broken than electrocuted.




This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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