To Myself

By Franz Wright b. 1953 Franz Wright
You are riding the bus again
burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80,   
the sole passenger

with an overhead light on.   
And I am with you.
I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,

the little lights off in the distance   
(in one of those rooms we are   
living) and I am the rain

and the others all
around you, and the loneliness you love,
and the universe that loves you specifically, maybe,

and the catastrophic dawn,
the nicotine crawling on your skin—
and when you begin

to cough I won’t cover my face,
and if you vomit this time I will hold you:   
everything’s going to be fine

I will whisper.
It won’t always be like this.
I am going to buy you a sandwich.

Franz Wright, “To Myself” from Ill Lit: Selected and New Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Franz Wright. Reprinted with the permission of Oberlin College Press.

Source: Ill Lit: Selected and New Poems (Oberlin College Press, 1998)

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Poet Franz Wright b. 1953

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Health & Illness, Living, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Franz  Wright

Biography

Franz Wright’s collections of poetry include The Beforelife (2001), God’s Silence (2006), and Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. He has received a Whiting Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for his poetry. Wright has translated poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke and Rene Char; in 2008 he and his wife, Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright, co-translated a collection by the Belarusian . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Health & Illness, Living, Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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