Weekly Poem: ‘Myth’

BY Arts Desk  June 29, 2009 at 12:01 PM EST

By Natasha Trethewey

I was asleep while you were dying.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow
I make between my slumber and my waking,

the Erebus I keep you in, still trying
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow,
but in dreams you live. So I try taking

you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
Again and again, this constant forsaking.

    Again and again, this constant forsaking:
    my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
    You back into morning, sleep-heavy, turning.

    But in dreams you live. So I try taking,
    not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow.
    The Erebus I keep you in — still, trying —

    I make between my slumber and my waking.
    It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hallow.
    I was asleep while you were dying.

    Natsash TretheweyNatasha Trethewey won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007 for her book, “Native Guard,” written about her mother and black Civil War soldiers on the Mississippi coast. Her first poetry collection, “Domestic Work,” won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.