Natasha Trethewey

Early Evening, Frankfort, Kentucky

It is 1965. I am not yet born, only
a fullness beneath the empire waist
of my mother’s blue dress.

The ruffles at her neck are waves 
of light in my father’s eyes. He carries 
a slim volume, leather-bound, poems

to read as they walk. The long road 
past the college, through town, 
rises and falls before them, 

the blue hills shimmering at twilight.
The stacks at the distillery exhale, 
and my parents breathe evening air 

heady and sweet as Kentucky bourbon. 
They are young and full of laughter,
the sounds in my mother’s throat 

rippling down into my blood. 
My mother, who will not reach 
forty-one, steps into the middle

of a field, lies down among clover 
and sweet grass, right here, right now— 
dead center of her life.