Dear X and Y,
I'm writing in a state of some frustration and disappointment to withdraw my essay from Top Journal in My Field of American Literature. I submitted the piece on the 2nd of August, 2012, now 1 year and 4 months ago. I have not received any reader reports on the article.
I appreciate that you are reliant on academics to review for you and that delays occur in the process. However, I have waited through multiple assurances, especially as you noted that you were "very excited" about having the piece reviewed in September 2012 [after a consultation with the editorial board as to whether the scope could be expanded to accommodate the piece], to no avail.
After this delay, even if you were to have the piece reviewed now, it will receive reports indicating that substantial portions of the literature are not cited; this is because they have been published in the substantial interim between submission and review.
I'm very sorry to do this; it is not what I wanted by any means, but I don't feel happy to wait any longer.