Three moves in sixth months and I remain the same. Two homes made two friends. The third leaves me with myself again. (We hardly speak.) Here I am with tame ducks and my neighbors' boats, only this electric heat against the April damp. I have a friend named Frank— the only one who ever dares to call and ask me, "How's your soul?" I hadn't thought about it for a while, and was ashamed to say I didn't know. I have no priest for now. Who will forgive me then. Will you Tame birds and my neighbors' boats. The ducks honk about the floats . . . They walk dead drunk onto the land and grounds, iridescent blue and black and green and brown. They live on swill our aged houseboats spill. But still they are beautiful. Look! The duck with its unlikely beak has stopped to pick and pull at the potted daffodil. Then again they sway home to dream bright gardens of fish in the early night. Oh these ducks are all right. They will survive. But I am sorry I do not often see them climb. Poor sons-a-bitching ducks. You're all fucked up. What do you do that for? Why don't you hover near the sun anymore? Afraid you'll melt? These foolish ducks lack a sense of guilt, and so all their multi-thousand-mile range is too short for the hope of change.
Copyright © 1989 by the John Logan Literary Estate, Inc. Reprinted from John Logan: The Collected Poems, by John Logan, with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:
head south on Mississippi 49, one—
by—one mile markers ticking off
another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end
at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches
in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand
dumped on a mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only
what you must carry—tome of memory
its random blank pages. On the dock
where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:
the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return
"Theories of Time and Space" from Native Guard: Poems by Natasha Trethewey. Copyright © 2006 by Natasha Trethewey. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.