Theories of Time and Space

By Natasha Trethewey b. 1966 Natasha Trethewey
You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
 
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:
 
head south on Mississippi 49, one-
by-one mile markers ticking off
 
another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end
 
at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches
 
in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand
 
dumped on the mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only
 
what you must carry—tome of memory,
its random blank pages. On the dock
 
where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:
 
the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return.

Natasha Trethewey, “Theories of Time and Space” from Native Guard. Copyright © 2007 by Natasha Trethewey. Reprinted by permission of Natasha Trethewey.

Source: Native Guard (Mariner Books, 2007)

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Poet Natasha Trethewey b. 1966

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

 Natasha  Trethewey

Biography

Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, the daughter of poet, professor, and Canadian emigrant Eric Trethewey and social worker Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough. The daughter of a mixed-race marriage, Trethewey experienced her parents’ divorce when she was six. She subsequently spent time in Atlanta, Georgia, with her mother and in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her father. Encouraged to read as a child, Trethewey studied . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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