Monday, February 7, 2011

The Madonna of Port au Prince

You who look like Alice
Your eyes red with shattered plaster and weeping
Your full lips bruised with dirt
Your hairpiece of locks slipping back like a cowl
The powder dusting your oval cheeks is grey concrete —
If the rest of you was not buried under rocks of blasted wall
And the figure in the foreground was not blood splattered
And someone’s leg was not trapped behind you,
You could have been a pretty girl
With sand on your bare arms
Writing your name on a shell
On some beach off Les Cayes—

You who look like Alice
Another lost girl I used to know,
Not an ikon’s model
On a chapel wall in Jacmel
But a strange Madonna anyhow
Flat on the scattered masonry
Sans enfant, or enfant gone from your hands
To the devouring earth —
The ikon herself
Impassive Erzulie, gazing through your Carib face
From a palette of pixels
Framing now before me.

(c) John Robert Lee
(c) Photo by Daniel Morel/Photomorel of Haiti. One of the first news photographs to appear after the January 12th 2010 Haiti earthquake.

1 comment:

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