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,
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 by George Witte (Three Rail Press, 2005; now distributed by Orchises Press). George Witte is the author of two collections, Deniability and The Apparitioners, both in print with Orchises Press. His poems have been published in The Atlantic, Kenyon Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, Yale Review, and elsewhere, and reprinted in the Best American Poets 2007, Vocabula 2, Old Flame, and Rabbit Ears anthologies. He received the Frederick Bock Prize for a group of poems from Poetry magazine and a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For twenty eight years he has worked at St. Martin’s Press, where he is editor in chief. A native of New Jersey, he grew up in Madison and has lived in North Bergen, Hoboken, Glen Rock, and now with his wife and their two daughters in… His third collection, Does She Have a Name?, will be published in May 2014 by NYQ Books.