Natasha Trethewey

10. (Self) Portrait

March 1912

On the crowded street I wanted to stop
time, hold it captive in my dark chamber—
a train’s sluggish pull out of the station,
passengers waving through open windows,
the dull faces of those left on the platform.
Once, I boarded a train; leaving my home,
I watched the red sky, the low sun glowing—
an ember I could blow into flame—night
falling and my past darkening behind me.
Now I wait for departure, the whistle’s
shrill calling. The first time I tried this shot
I thought of my mother shrinking against
the horizon—so distracted. I looked into 
a capped lens, saw only my own clear eye.