"Walking to Martha’s Vineyard"
And the ocean smells like lilacs in late August–how
The light there muted (silver) as remembered light.Do you have any children?
No, lucky for them.
Bad things happen when you get hands, dolphin.Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?
There is no down or up in space or in the womb.
If they’d stabbed me to death on the day I was born, it
would have been an act of mercy.
Like the light the last room, the windowless room at the
end, must look out on. Gold-tinged, blue
vapor trail breaking up now like the white line you see,
after driving all day, when your eyes close;
vapor trail breaking up now between huge clouds resembling
a kind of Mt. Rushmore of your parents’ faces.
And these untraveled windy back roads here–cotton
leaves blowing past me, in the long blue
if I am on an island, how is it they go on forever.
This sky like an infinite tenderness, I have caught
glimpses of that, often, so often, and never yet have
I described it, I can’t, somehow, I never will.
How is it that I didn’t spend my whole life being happy, loving
other human beings’ faces.
And wave after wave, the ocean smells like lilacs in
late August.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright. Copyright © 2003 by Franz Wright. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.