By Annie Quarcoopome
Saturday, January 16, 2010.
What word can encompass stretch its arms and wrap them around
A day when the world returns to the dust it was
Before we fashioned orderly chaos and became free
The First Negro Republic raises weakened arms to wipe
From its eyes water and ash to mould human tragedy
What word can encompass… we have asked before
Encompass passion itself when it screams whimpers
Nou la épi zot
The word that encompasses has not yet been created
Bondyé ki pa bon
The word cannot be found
Under the rubble of ash and water edifices
Buildings made from tears and dust that crumble into a void of screaming and loss
A hellish void of independence and burnt out communication lines sparking revolting revolutionary pain
And yet is Haiti so epic that
Hurricane-proofed we sink into the earth from which
The dead in the streets and the word cannot be found the dust will not settle for the word to be found
She hides in the folds of warm pervasive stench heavy and loud as shattered eardrums
She cavorts with criminals buried under police stations and wives caressing newborns to deep deep sleep
Reveal yourself, word!
One hundred French citizens buried beneath a thousand Haitian bodies
Ki té ké soucouri corps mwen
And they keep coming
Les coups n’arrêtent pas
What more do we ask but to find the word that can
Reach long arms around the day when God gripped us in His loving hands
And shook and shook
He set us down gently like lambs beautiful black sheep and
Poured ashes onto our heads?
Annie Quarcoopome is a poet and writer. She is also a regular contributor to Black Looks , where this poem originally appeared.