Friday, April 1, 2011


Did you find him, maman, the old man,
Or was it the grandchild left in your care for the day,
Or, in the catastrophe behind you,
The daughter who was setting your supper,
Or perhaps your friend, having a Dominican ponche with you?
Your long arms, maman, are bathed in the white dust of disastrous city-fall,
Your fingers are exhausted from their frantic and futile search for bones,
For hair, for a belt or a bodice,
For a baby, a baby who was impossibly there,
Gurgling at her spoon
Teasing your heart,
And you singing a lullaby, “Haiti Cherie”
Haiti beloved, beloved child,
Gone child, gone with the walls, the debris, the tranblanterre and the lavalas,
Gone from your arms, from your keening, scrabbling fingers
Despairing under block, under board, under broken back
And the child disparu, taken —
Or was it your friend from Cap Haitien,
Or the daughter who shared your name,
Or the old man — companion of your days,
Comrade of sleepless hours, keeper of your young heart
Comforter of those fallen breasts
Fallen under your torn chemise
Fallen with the roofs and the windows and the President’s house
Fallen with the broken routes of Port-au-Prince
Fallen and forlorn, Haiti Cherie?

(c) John Robert Lee
(c) Photograph: Daniel Morel/Photomorel of Haiti.

1 comment:

  1. pharmacy

    I would meet the old man... I think he has knowledge about the whole life.