Our Conversation

By Franz Wright b. 1953 Franz Wright
Pure gaze, you are lightning beyond the last trees
and you are the last trees’
past, branching
green lightning
of terminal brain branches
numened densely with summer’s
hunter color, as night comes on,
the ocean they conceal
gone berserk, wind still rising.
Pure seeing, dual vortex doors
to the blue fire where
sex is burned away, and all
is as it was and I am being offered
in your eyes, as in cupped hands,
the water of to never thirst again.
Again I turn away,
and the future comes, all at once
towering around me
on every side, and I am lost.
Pure looking, past pain
(this is promised):
we must have wed on poverty’s most hair-raising day
delighting, flashing risk, risk
unfailingly lighting the way,
anything possible
in that dissolving of seam
between minds,
no more golden time—
each step I took
the right step, words
came to me finally and finding the place
you had set for them,
once again
wrote themselves down.
Till true word’s anvil ring, and
solid tap of winged blind cane come,
I wish you
all the aloneness you hunger for.
That big kitchen table where you sit laughing
with friends, I see it happening.
And I wish that I could not be
so much with you
when I’m suddenly not; that
inwardly you might switch
time, to sleep
and winter while you went about
your life, until you woke up
well,
our conversation resumed.
Ceaseless blue lightning, this
love passing through me:
I know somehow it will go on
reaching you, reaching you
instantly
when I’m not in the way;
when it is no longer deflected
by all the dark bents, all
I tried to overcome but I could not—
so much light pulled off course
as it passed within reach, so much
lost, lost in me,
but no more.

                                                 October 2, 1999–October 2, 2010

Source: Poetry (May 2011).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2011
 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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.