“Theories of Time and Space” by Natasha Trethewey

i-010_wb_exit_034_05
You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
xxxxx
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:
xxxx
head south on Mississippi 49, one-
by-one mile markers ticking off
xxxx
another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end
xxxx
at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches
xxxx
in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand
xxxx
dumped on the mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only
xxxx
what you must carry—tome of memory,
its random blank pages. On the dock
xxxx
where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:
xxxx
the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return.
xxxx
xxxx

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

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