—Honoring those lost in Haiti on January 12, 2010

By Claudine Michel

like Delira
you plunged
your hand into the dirt
you stopped
you returned the dirt to the earth

4 times you bent
picked up loose soil
and let the fine powder
go through your long fingers

yon pongnen, a handful
for your grandmother
one for your mother
one for your daughter
one pinch for the daughter of your daughter
all gone that day

you implore
and commit their souls
mother earth
they are yours to guard!

Claudine Michel is Professor Emerita, Department of Black Studies, University of California. She is editor of the Journal of Haitian Studies and Executive Director of the Haitian Studies Association. Her poems appear in Le Temps qui Passe (Marlène Racine-Toussaint, editor), Pawol Fanm sou Douz Janvye (Gina Athena Ulysse, guest editor), a special issue of Meridians. Feminism. Race. Transnationalism, and elsewhere. Also by this poet: "Darkness"