Providence

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)
More Poems by Natasha Trethewey