by Kyle Laws
I confess my struggles to Jan in a Miami hotel,
after 12 hours in a Port-au-Prince airport
trying to leave, after getting up at 5 a.m.
in Montrouis to drive partially paved roads
along coast of a bay where there are no
rules of the road, just a determination
to get there as soon as possible to not
delay a bone rattling drive, after leaving
a bunk bed with mosquito net angled in corner
and stretched to feet, where roosters raise
a 3 o’clock alarm for a 5 o’clock rising,
and waves are faint, not far from a shore
littered with plastic bottles and plastic
footwear, the shower, concrete, without
water, so I’m sticky and hot after a swim,
and nothing to eat, cheese and crackers gone
to a reunion of old friends, party I’m not
invited to, so sit alone in a wicker lounge
from a time when this retreat was lush right
here on shore, but the dock is gone to ruins
I step down from, away from the unending
rebar protruding from buildings, falling
down or going up, either despair or hope,
the between space, a purgatory which is
all and everywhere, and the drip-drip-drip
of black nylon of failed clergy as I try to
find a way back, out of the descent into
darkness that no generator, no slow drip
in a draining sink, no bath from a bucket
can wash from my soul.
PHOTO: Church in Haiti by Roy Harryman, used by permission.
NOTE: Haiti is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti has an estimated population of 11.1 million, making it the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba. Europeans first arrived December 5, 1492 during the initial voyage of Christopher Columbus, who subsequently founded the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad, on what is now the northeastern coast of Haiti. The island was claimed by Spain, forming part of the Spanish Empire until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to Spain ceding the western portion of the island to France in 1697. In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color launched the Haitian Revolution in 1791. After 12 years of conflict, French forces were defeated and Haiti was declared a sovereignty in 1804.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I made four trips to Haiti, both before and after the 2010 earthquake.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, Colorado, where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence coauthored with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Net, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Visit her on Facebook.