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An Open Letter
by
George Witte

There’s something to be said
for sitting still and letting things come clear,
the way morning fog burns off the lake.

A friend writes: enlisted
in the Air Force, put on weight and saw the world
you missed. I’m content
to wait on what drops by
or swoops in for a closer view.
My doors are open wide, windows propped
so wind feels free
to flip through my mail, discarding
bills and funeral notices,
scattering pale
handwritten pages on the lawn for everyone
to read. A wedding invitation
went to buttress an oriole nest;
one man passing on the road nearby
pulled over, furtively stuffed a single
sheet in his back pocket, then drove along;
and the last I saw
my friend’s letter held its own
with the wind, lightly at tree level
like the jet he flies far
and high away from here.

There’s something to be said, and something else
to be kept quiet and cool:
the lake at dawn, before the fog burns off.

 

 

From The Apparitioners (Orchises Press). 
Used here with the author's permission.

 

George Witte writes poems based on his upbringing in rural New Jersey—a world far from the "what’s your exit?" jokes that reflect most people’s knowledge of that state. While he does most of his writing on the commuter train to and from a demanding job in New York, his imagination frequently returns to the lakes, rivers, woods, and mountains where he spent most of his childhood. George has published two books of poems, The Apparitioners and Deniability, and his work has appeared in a number of leading poetry publications, including The Best American Poetry 2007. He lives with his family in Ridgewood, New Jersey.



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