Poetry Daily

From Thrall by Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the United States

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.

By 1805, when Jefferson sat for the portrait,
     he was already linked to an affair
with his slave. Against a backdrop, blue…

Read the entire poem here.

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