Friday, January 13, 2012

Remembering Haiti

Thinking about Haiti and all of our friends there. Once you know Haiti you cannot forget.

This poem comes from my chapbook VOICES RISE AND FALL, HAITI POEMS, published by Students in the graduate program in creative writing at Chatham University.


The sky is blue.

The earth begins to shake,

you tremble and bounce

like brightly colored beads

in the braided hair of the girl walking

Before you can think,

your house has fallen down.

The girl has disappeared

in clouds of gray dust

you cannot breath

in the sudden dark, black like night,

your family is missing,

or trapped, or dying, or dead or gone,

your mother, your father your child.

There is no air

no food no water.

All the people

crawling over rubble.

The maggots crawl on rotting flesh,

Calling your name

your grandmother two floors below

don’t be afraid of death,

her whispers fade, to silence

a voice you do not understand,

claws the cracks with fingers

coming to get you.

Calling you.

Bon Dieu is calling you

until you can no longer hear,

until they bulldoze

you into a grave.

The earth trembles again.

Three colored beads shiver

on shattered cement.

The singing in the streets;

Praise to God and Haiti.

Singing in the streets!

Because that is all that is left,

how you will survive

this day.

Walk and sing and sing.

You sing until your throat is raw.

Until you can no longer speak.

Blood spills from your lips.

You sing and no one will hear

And still you sing.

They call it looting,

You have not eaten for two days

or maybe three. Four. Five. Six.

But you are used to that.

They shoot you in the street when you take

some water, a sack of rice.

You sleep in the street

and the earth shakes again.

And again. The earth will never.

Stop. Shaking.

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