The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 5, 2010


Elegy for Haiti

He walks through the streets at the first light. Covered in rubble and remnants of old buildings, fallen upon the packed dirt. Not strong. But he must be strong as he surveys the bodies piled like rocks on the seashore. The waves fight against the bulk and break truth. Gray concrete and sandy dirt cover as far as the eye can see. Charred and lifeless limbs of trees stretching away on every side in the hillside distance. And the colorful homes, they too droop down in their ash staring at the cool ocean untouched by the wreathing flames past. He realizes he has stopped and continues walking until he has reached the large cloth. Now suddenly in storm of people and life and noise he stands unmoving.

An elderly woman crying “James! James! Why you take him?” A young couple holding each other in fearful strength. Few are silent. Crying. Praying. There is an overwhelming aura of lament.

One woman is sitting on a tightly woven amber blanket. Unlike others she looks relatively healthy. Except for the hands; her hands are unusually bruised and violently scratched on the palms and fingertips; not nearly as severe as the shattered legs and torn arms in other areas of the dirty humid tent-room. And yet she sits here trying with a beyond desperate attempt not to cry. While everyone else moans and screams prayers of forgiveness she is resisting. The man thinks this is strange and curiously walks over to kindly ask if she is okay. Her response shakes him as it shook her:

“ Wyclef. My Jean, my little Jean.” She holds one hand over the other and touches her heart. “I scream for them. But the dirty air makes me cough. And then I close my eyes and pray.” She lets out a powerful whimper. “The men, they come with machine and lift the rock so I see light. Everyone is cheers and smiles. I stand and wait to see. Their bodies…Wyclef…my Jean… my little Jean.”She breaks out a whimper of anguish then covers her mouth with a single hand.

The woman no longer stands out. The man touches out to her arm and she shakes violently. The man does not know what to do now. He whispers it’s going to be ok and tries to shhh soothingly, but his voice trembles and with one last tender grip on her arm he walks away. She gets up and walks past the moaning bodies of survivors, towards a tent fold and delicately pushes it aside. The ocean is blue today. It breaks on rocks and homes and bodies and out past the horizon a single vibration can be felt.

We mourn not only for the dead, but for the living, whose lives crashed down in the rubble that killed their mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, cousins, uncles, aunts and friends.

We shall overcome. We shall overcome. Nou allons bat.

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito