Return to Sender (or To Me) - Maryana Garcia

If I close my eyes I can still see her –
My Grandma – making words.
She liked sitting in sunny spaces,
Soaking up the light between lines.
I loved watching her pepper paper with ink
‘Til there were hardly any blanks left.
She’d let me draw the same little circles
Over and over, until they were
Pools of cold wet dark,
Like reverse black holes that
Ate things up by spreading out
Instead of sucking in.
Simple, deep, and dark:
That is how words used to look
To me.

If I cover my ears I can still hear her –
My Grandma – making words.
She liked beating out an ivory acoustic.
And I loved her typewriter rhythm...
Tack, tack, tickitty tack, ting!
Slick, roll back, click, repeat... 
All to the thrumming bass
Of swirling electric fans.
She’d let wide-eyed little me
Lean in so close I could hear her pen
Scratching the soft white,
Loud against our thinking.
Strong, clean, and sharp:
That is how words used to sound
To me.

I’ve since discovered 
The symphonics of words;
Listened for trills and plosives, 
Learned the rules of lexical stress,
Soaked in the subtle tints and shades, 
Until my stare was saturated.
Until I couldn’t see the logos for the font.
Mixing the texture in the typeface,
I got lost in the typography.
Then I started to wonder…
In our always search for more,
How many times do we
Find messages in sparkled glass
Only to stamp them with 
Return to sender?

My Grandma still uses a typewriter.
The same ivory tick-tacking treasure
That I loved on first sound. 
It’s just a little slower now –
The letters take a while in coming,
Their impact is softer, harder to see.
And sometimes, if you lean in close,
You can hear its bones strain to catch.
But her pen is still going strong. 
She shoots me long stories
With hardly any blanks
On barely-there thin copy paper
That crinkles and smells like home.

And I will always need to write back.
My story is a little shorter.
There will be blanks by the hundreds
Because I’m still spreading out.

I’m still wide-eyed leaning in.

Contributor's Note

Maryana Garcia is currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in English at Waikato. One day, she would like to be remembered for something she wrote.


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