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This article examines Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard (2006) as a poetic narrative of intergenerational cultural trauma. A mother’s fears about her daughter’s being born in the hostile environment of the civil rights-era South creates a “maternal impression” on her unborn child. And after birth, the daughter’s identity is shaped by her mother’s various forms of silencing as well as by socially-imposed moments of naming, blackening, and erasure that persist until the narrator tells the buried history of the Native Guards. By doing so, she resituates herself in a revised history of racialized trauma and reappropriates the meanings of her multiple identities.