After Theories of Time and Space by Natasha Trethewey
The home we knew is only memory. It repeats
without variation. We are forever young—
forever children playing in the yard: giggling, kicking stones,
chasing guineafowl, taking too long to answer mother’s call.
Mother is so much older now or in her grave, though
in the home inside you, she is always young and lovely—
dark skin glistening in the midday sun as she simmers
peanut stew and the spice-heavy aroma is carried
on the wind even across the ocean. If you take a deep breath,
Angela, you can taste the meal she prepared the last day you saw her.
Ellen June Wright was born in England of West Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She taught high-school language arts in New Jersey for three decades before retiring. She has consulted on guides for three PBS poetry series. She was a finalist in the Gulf Stream 2020 summer poetry contest. Her work was selected as The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week in June 2021, and she received five 2021 Pushcart Prize nominations.