Haitian Lullaby: For Cecilia Laurent

by Dominique Christina

Sit mother.
Be in your bone-cluttered body
Be in your easy chair.
Bring us what you know about
Citadels and marching men
About fallen cities and unrestored
Watchtowers sneering at the ocean
Mere rubble now
From too many wars-

Bring us witchcraft
Bring us juju
Bring us communion
Bring us
Bring us bring us ancestor
Toward a noble dream
Of conquering Africans
The coast pinched red
Pocked with bone
Fodder for vultures
The feast of death

Bring us the tremble
You talked down
When the earthquake shook
The stones loose,
Bring us the unmoved earth
The rising tide
The island baptized
By flood

Bring us the way you stayed
How you know your body
Well enough to keep it.
How did you keep it?
So many did not.
Do you think of them?
How you outlived
Every one?
Is it the way you remember?
Or the way you do not?
Oh matriarch
Oh wise bird

115 years of life and
You still smile
Your hands still work.

God is probably
An old woman
Sitting bare-breasted in a window
Overlooking an ocean
Not so frenzied with memory,
Smoking a pipe,
Waiting on the mail,
With cornrows and
More grandchildren than
Can ever be counted,

Some war-whipped witch
With a walking stick and
Two walloped knees-
Born before everyone else

Who refuses to,
I say, refuses to,

Poem copyright 2019 by Dominique Christina. All rights reserved.

See more poems from  Dominique Christina debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: What the Old Folks Knew…” and “In the Morning She Died For It.”

Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Review | Writing Prompt

Leave a Reply