Natasha Trethewey was born in 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi. She earned an M.A. in English and creative writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. In 2000, her first collection of poems, Domestic Work, won the prestigious Cave Canem Poetry Prize. It also won the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Trethewey’s Native Guard won this year's Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2000, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, North American Review, and the Southern Review. Trethewey is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Emory University.
What's left is footage: the hours before
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
when I bent to touch it.