Dear Miss Marilyn Hacker,

My father is the Finland woman.

Seeing as she is indeed, a woman, I figured it might be open to some slight interpretation. When our teacher assigned us to listen to all the poet readings and pick one to write a letter to, I will be honest: I was not too happy. I acquiesced and attentively annotated the poems, but remained unfazed—until I heard yours.

My father, now almost reaching his years of 60, was orphaned by the age of 11. His father was killed in the Vietnam War when his aircraft was violently shot down and his mother died just 4 short years thereafter. My dad and his 3 brothers were raise by their grandparents and multiple military academies. By the time college rolled around, my dad had his sights set on the United States Air Force Academy and, soon enough, he was a USAF Captain, just like his father.

Throughout your poem, you beautifully illustrate all the things that the Finland woman could do. The list of possibilities ostensibly goes on forever, just as it does of my dad’s abilities. He has been through so much himself that, no matter the size of the seemingly endless rabbit hole I have found myself traveling down, he is always at the bottom, with open arms, ready to guide me out of it.

To me, the line “She could bind the world’s winds in a single strand” was simply made for my father. He binds my world’s problems into a single strand that we untangle together.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the fictional element woven into the poem because I often associate my father with the fictitious persona of Superman. He is a restaurant-owning, working man to the naked eye, but a valiant, heroic savior to those who have the pleasure of truly knowing him. Like Superman’s weakness to kryptonite, my father has one vulnerability: family. He puts my mom, sisters, and I before everything and I believe that, like the Finland woman who puts others’ lives before her own, is a true quality of a hero.

Along with the alliteration of letters in each line, I loved your presence and watching you well with pride while brining your work to life. I have been told that when I talk about my dad, that I too fill with great admiration and this is yet another reason I greatly adore you and your poem. Thank you for sharing your work and for giving me the opportunity to appreciate my dad more often, as "Rune of the Finland Woman" now holds a special place above my bed.

Thank you, again, for sharing your work.


Cape Coral, FL

dear poet letters