Providence

By Natasha Trethewey b. 1966 Natasha Trethewey
What's left is footage: the hours before
             Camille, 1969—hurricane
                         parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
            fronds blown back,

a woman's hair. Then after:
            the vacant lots,
            boats washed ashore, a swamp

where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
            moving between rooms,
                        emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house—
           on its cinderblocks—seemed to float

           in the flooded yard: no foundation

beneath us, nothing I could see
                          tying us                      to the land.
                          In the water, our reflection
                                                               trembled,
disappeared
when I bent to touch it.

Natasha Trethewey, "Providence" from Native Guard. Copyright © 2007 by Natasha Trethewey.  Reprinted by permission of Natasha Trethewey.

Source: Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007)

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Poet Natasha Trethewey b. 1966

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Weather

Poetic Terms Alliteration, 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 Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Weather

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Alliteration, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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