One flat fall evening, as an undergrad,
I left the library to mail a letter
and at the mailbox had
a stirring–-I don’t know what else to call it,
but I felt certain, drifting back
on brittle leaves, surrounded by the gray,
this was my life–-a feeling new,
whole, deeply and vibratingly unstrange.
Back at the carrel, where my books still lay,
I sat some time immersed there in that moment:
me, having walked away
from books for some slight, distant human contact,
returning through the coming winter
to my small space. It struck me as both sad
and right; young as I was, I knew
it wasn’t something I would ever change.
Max Gutmann writes: “Though it takes the perspective of an older man looking back, ‘A Letter Home‘ was written shortly after the experience it shares, years before I wrote any other verse (aside from some limericks); the drive to record the experience as a poem had nothing to do with habit. I couldn’t have anticipated that the “distant human contact” in my life would come to include a community of writers with whom I’ve only ever exchanged words on a screen (a community you do a lot to nourish, Robin. Thank you.)”
‘A Letter Home‘ was first published in the Pulsebeat Poetry Journal.
Max Gutmann has worked as, among other things, a stage manager, a journalist, a teacher, an editor, a clerk, a factory worker, a community service officer, the business manager of an improv troupe, and a performer in a Daffy Duck costume. Occasionally, he has even earned money writing plays and poems.
Photo: “McAllen mailbox” by Drpoulette is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.