Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Calling ... of an Artist

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Calling ... of an Artist

Article excerpt

What I know is this:

I was drowning and saw a dark Madonna:

someone pulled me through

the water s bright ceiling

and I rose, initiate,

from one life into another.

-Natasha Trethewey

1.

Her husband is oblivious to her.

Not for spite, just years of habit-

his joke. Today, she almost forgot

herself, too. Crossed a convent's

stone threshold towards a shrine

built a hundred years past

where she wanted to bury

what self remains. Cobalt swish-

a refrain of evening pour, striking

to fading off the iron in irony

until she starts, wakes,

seated at her window, having

cooked, served, and eaten alone

a botched dinner.

2.

Cars pass-memory

gives her a front seat... at the fork

when she was thirty-three, two questions

whipsawed her between two futures:

what the world owes me? what I can

give freely of what I got for free?

She counts leaves on guardrails ...

did she ever choose? must have.

She sees light bending through trees

like she did when she loved mountains,

so climbed them, or lived; living, her

only reason. But her trip ends as lines

in the road separate what to keep /

what to throw away, and she finds

herself-where she's never left.

3.

Her husband's reflection stretches

a book across knees propped up

on a lazy boy.

Her face, though...

gusts of wind, drizzle sweeping

against the panes framing it. …

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