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alone / together

August 26, 2019

Poet Ina Cariño reflects on a photograph by Southbound artist Susan Worsham. As part of our Call & Response series in conjunction with Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, we’ve asked artists, writers, and poets to respond to a photograph of their choice in the form of short written pieces.

By Ina Cariño

Susan Worsham, Max with Papaya, 2011

Susan Worsham, Max with Papaya, 2011. Worsham’s work in Southbound, primarily from her By the Grace of God series, documents her childhood home, intertwining her present-day observations with memories of the past, in coming to terms with things lost. She is based in Richmond, Virginia. ON VIEW AT THE POWER PLANT GALLERY AT DUKE UNIVERSITY.

alone / together


every day I try to secret the ruffle / of starling feathers into jars / but fail each time / I think they mimic those / of angels / plush & seedy / like rumpled coverlets flapping / in the wind / yes each morning I whisper / about precious things / like open palms / yesterday’s cousins / half-eaten fruit / its silk black nibs left to dry on a sheet of newspaper / in the sun / but there’s a special kind of unknowing in life / where I exist in the liminal / & everyone else flits around as I curl my skin tight / crumple it into a wad / spread it / back out again & try / to stitch it to those of angels / please / let me dream about lost things / without weeping / here in this crêpe myrtle town / my split youth gleaming / under the wisp of paper flowers / here / in this crabapple town / where I sit / or wait tables / let me weep without being heard here / in this sepia town / here / in this hush of a town / here in this languid town / let me listen to the stillness / of a once-beating heart / without weeping / without weeping / without weeping


Listen as Ina Cariño recites her poem:

Ina CariñoJosephine “Ina” Cariño was born in Baguio City in the Philippines. She moved to the United States at the age of ten. As an immigrant, she has since struggled with the denial of her dual existence as an Asian and as an American. As a poet, and as the child of a poet—especially in the political climate under the current administration—Ina feels that art is perhaps the only viable tool people like her can use to work against the negation that she and other people of color experience on a daily basis. Ina’s work appears or is forthcoming in New England Review, The Oxford Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly, Nat. Brut, Sakura Review, VIDA Review, Raleigh Review, New American Fiction (New Rivers Press), One, and december Magazine, among others. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South is presented by the Power Plant Gallery in collaboration with Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University. In this iteration, guest curator Randall Kenan, author and NC native, organizes the many framed photographs of the exhibition around the twin themes of Flux, on display at the Power Plant Gallery, and Home, on display at the Gregg Museum. The full program of events includes slow tours, film screenings, “Sit + Chat” sessions, and FSP@PPG panel discussions that engage with the issues in and around the works of art and explore the topics, places, and styles of Southbound. Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South was organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, and curated by Mark Long and Mark Sloan. Visit the exhibit online at