The Year of What Now

By Brian Russell Brian Russell
I ask your doctor
of infectious disease if she's
read Williams   he cured
sick babies I tell her and
begin describing spring
and all   she's looking at the wall
now the floor   now your chart
now the door   never
heard of him she says
but I can't stop explaining
how important this is
I need to know your doctor
believes in the tenacity of nature
to endure   I'm past his heart
attack   his strokes   and now as if
etching the tombstone myself   I find
I can't remember the date
he died or even
the year   of what now
are we the pure products   and what
does that even mean   pure   isn't it
obvious   we are each our own culture
alive with the virus that's waiting
to unmake us

Brian Russell, "The Year of What Now" from The Year of What Now. Copyright © 2013 by Brian Russell.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: The Year of What Now (Graywolf Press, 2013)

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Poet Brian Russell

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books


Brian Russell's first book of poetry is The Year of What Now (Graywolf, 2013), which won the Bakeless Poetry Prize. Russell earned an MFA from the University of Houston, where he served as poetry editor for Gulf Coast. His poems have appeared in Bat City Review, the Cincinnati ReviewEpochMid-American Review, and Verse Daily. He lives in Chicago.

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Poems by Brian Russell

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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