Francine Witte


Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press), The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction), and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books). She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) was published by ELJ Editions in September 2021. She lives in New York City.

Photo credit: Carol Sessler


My Father in the Front Door

Rowing in rough each night, as if our house were an ocean he had rivered into, slicing his useless oars against the sudden wash   and warn of my mother, who looked square into his face where anyone could see his wish to be anywhere else, or anyone else. But he never left,   just worked and raged till one day, he slumped over heart-attack dead, face down in the supper my mother had prepared   for hours. Later she would have to learn to halve her recipes, just like she halved her life. I waited for her to grow back   her missing self, like some kind of starfish, but she never did. Just kept watching the doorway to see what would fill it next.    Maybe the sun that just kept rising in the sky to a high soprano or the world itself that kept doubling and tripling as she waited inside.

This is one of my family poems. Not always completely accurate, but certainly the feel of it is true. Typical family drama, in many ways.