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Monument: Poems New and Selected

Natasha Trethewey

Top 10 Best Quotes

“After Your Death First, I emptied the closets of your clothes, threw out the bowl of fruit, bruised from your touch, left empty the jars you bought for preserves. The next morning, birds rustled the fruit trees, and later when I twisted a ripe fig loose from its stem, I found it half eaten, the other side already rotting, or—like another I plucked and split open—being taken from the inside: a swarm of insects hollowing it. I’m too late, again, another space emptied by loss. Tomorrow, the bowl I have yet to fill.”

“This is how the past interrupts our lives, all of it entering the same doorway--like the hole in the trunk of my neighbor's tree: at once a natural shelter, haven for small creatures, but also evidence of injury, an entrance for decay.”

“you learned from a Korean poet in Seoul: that one does not bury the mother's body in the ground but in the chest, or--like you-- you carry her corpse on your back.”

“the little fires set the flames of an idea licking the page how knowledge burns”

“When I think of this now, I see how the past holds us captive, its beautiful ruin etched on the mind's eye”

“What does it mean to be safe in the world?”

“Waking, I am freighted with memory: my mother's last words spoken--after her death--in a dream: Do you know what it means to have a wound that never heals?”

“Now the house is a museum of everything she can't let go”

“In the portrait of Jefferson that hangs at Monticello, he is rendered two-toned: his forehead white with illumination-- a lit bulb--the rest of his face in shadow, darkened as if the artist meant to contrast his bright knowledge, its dark subtext.”

“I'd follow my father from book to book, gathering citations, listen as he named--like a field guide to Virginia-- each flower and tree and bird as if to prove a man's pursuit of knowledge is greater than his shortcomings, the limits of his vision.”

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Book Keywords:

slavery, ideas, words, birds, fire, flames, leaving, shortcomings, poetry, trees, nature, interracial-relationships, burning, ruin, possessions, tidying, vision, monticello, death, thomas-jefferson, safety, world, past, mourning, mothers, limits, healing, presidents, last-words, loss, poem, slaves, figs, grief, belongings, flowers, death-of-a-mother, decay, injuries, knowledge, shelter, captivity, wounds, african-americans, portraits

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