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By 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)

Poet Bio

Franz Wright was born in Vienna, Austria and grew up in the Northwest, the Midwest, and California. His father was the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet James Wright. He has taught at Emerson College and other universities, has worked in mental health clinics, and has volunteered at a center for grieving children. In his precisely crafted, lyrical poems, Wright addresses the subjects of isolation, illness, spirituality, and gratitude.

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