Letter of Recommendation; Bookending the Day; The Listener; & Ghazal of Air


Letter of Recommendation


I am writing on behalf of the wind in my son’s hair,
which, at least in this photograph, is always there for him,
always cooling his cheeks and suggesting new scents
from over yon dale, you know the one, just out
of sight from the cidery yard where his friends run
with him into the alchemical twilight, which clothes
every living thing in the ephemeral silk of youth,
which is only enhanced by the wind that carries downy
seedpods and pollen, giving the light something to shine
through, and the wind does this all thanklessly, so humble,
remaining mostly unseen, bowing down low in the grasses,
sometimes precisely in one branch alone, more often
broadly present, bearing the soft, steady answer
to the long question of what it means to be free.


Matthew Nienow is the author of House of Water (Alice James Books, 2016). His poems have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, TriQuarterly, and many other magazines and anthologies. A former Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellow, he has also received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Artist Trust. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington, with his wife and sons, where he works as a builder of wooden boats and other watercraft.