Love Languages – Nicole Chvatal

My mom’s is easy: She tells me I look pretty. 

My lipstick’s love for me runs so deep I ingest a pound per year.

My brother drives a stick shift and brings me lobster
he caught earlier. He soaks the clams for an extra hour
to clean out any excess grit.

Dorner handwrites letters and her texts include
the emojis I forget about: Peacock, air mail, fleur-de-lis.

My favorite jeans hold me in shape of me.

It’s my dad who is the challenge.
His love language is a binary code,
a cracked Rosetta Stone.
If my dad were an emoji, he would be the face of a slot
machine, withholding funds before bumming a smoke.
I am half of him—the nose, auburn hair,
the sad parts hidden in the middle.
The last time he called, it was something about
the importance of an upgrade
to my iOS, and was I backing up to the cloud,
and did I know the ease of wireless chargers vs. the coiled cord.
When he offered recently to buy me a new phone
his text startled me awake. Must have forgotten
the three-hour time difference between us.
Half asleep, I could barely see the screen.

Nicole Chvatal writes property deeds and lives in Maine. Her work has appeared in The Maine Sunday Telegraph, LEON, Pilgrimage and Verseweavers. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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