Tuesday 28 February 2023

Letter to Boyfriend

Artemis's poem shows the struggle with intimacy, communication and relationships when dealing with mental health problems, as well as the journey towards healing.

- Artemis Lam

Inspired by Emily Berry’s ‘Letter to Husband’
Dear boyfriend            Dearest, much-loved boyfriend          Adored,
treasured, role-perfect boyfriend        Over-the-screen,
once-a-month boyfriend         Unbelievable dream I try too hard
to grasp           Dear boyfriend always missed           boyfriend’s sweater always
worn                away for one month, next it will be two         Dear boyfriend
please reply                 On some hidden nights           There are nights solitude drowns and
drowning in moonlight like a                         desperate, greedy thing
I want              and want more            This body will never be
Dear Tinder                 Dear random white men at the bar     Dear
God, please believe                 I love               you, I               do
Dear                Dear beloved               loving is a hard thing
Like happiness            I didn’t                        I don’t know, no one ever told me
what to do       I am losing      I can’t lose you
Dear, dear boyfriend               Dear lover, dear my always                Dear gentleness
too unselfish for your own good                     Dear hazes of crying and blind phone calls
Thank you for letting me        Never again                 I’m not the one
who should be crying             Dear open wound        pink like the pasta you make
Dear boyfriend, I am in therapy                     Dear boyfriend, I am getting better
at making your favourite cheese cake                        only slightly burnt, tender as me
Dear warm pumpkin-spiced-latte recently-cut hair                Dear bruised knuckles
and sweaty hands        Dear gap-toothed smile          Dear raised brow and that
wink                Dear great grounding weight              Dear murmuring sleep and rest
of my life boyfriend                Dear delayed trains and distance I am
overcoming to find you again             Dear boyfriend, I love you     I do

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.

Artemis Lam is a third-year English Literature student at Durham University. She is an advocate for open and honest conversations on mental health, as well as a literary representation of such experiences. When she is not reading or writing poetry, she can usually be found in the gym or indulging in her mildly worrying addiction to coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic poem. The dimention of mental health makes it read like a longing for a return to feeling mentally well.