For the earth has spoken,
to you, her magma Creole.

Full-throated syllables, up-
rising from deep down,

an honest elocution —
rudimentary sound: guttural

nouns, forthright, strong,
the rumbled conviction of verbs

unfettered by reticence
as the first poetry of creation.

A secret has passed between you
so wonderfully terrible,

it laid your cities prostrate,
raptured your citizenry.

Now, we look to your remnant
courtesy cable TV

and garble theories thinking
ourselves saved.

Only the wise among us pin
our ears to the ground,

listening in hope of catching
even a half syllable

of the language forming
like a new world on your tongue.

  • Jennifer Rahim, "Haiti" from Ground Level.  Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Rahim.  Reprinted by permission of Peepal Tree Press.

  • Source: Ground Level (Peepal Tree Press, 2011)

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