Natasha Trethewey

1. Witness

Believe the report of the Lord/
Face the things that confront you.
              marquee (front/back),
              Greater Mt. Rest Baptist Church
              Gulfport, Mississippi, May 2009

Here is North Gulfport—
its liquor stores and car washes,
trailers and shotgun shacks
propped at the road’s edge;
its brick houses hunkered
against the weather, anchored
to neat, clipped yards;
its streets named for states
and Presidents—each corner
a crossroads of memory,
marked with a white obelisk;
its phalanx of church houses—
a congregation of bunkers
and masonry brick, chorus
of marquees: God is not
the author of fear; Without faith
we is victims; Sooner or later
everybody comes here.