His voice is licked
but his dreams
are the artillery of words loaded
to uncoil our strength.
(Michel-Ange Hyppolite)

The words cluster behind your teeth;
close in, the smooth patina, deep brown,
of your face is alight with the effort:
you, boy, carrying the weight
of an old man; this body of yours
broken again and again by the accident
of your birth. I follow the slow
wave of your thick lashes, you are
counting the words, searching
your heart for the right music—
"Sometimes, I wonder why;
sometimes I wonder if
my mother did this—then I grow
dark, the world swallows light
around me, then I cry—only
sometimes, I cry, and then I laugh,
just like that, in a few seconds,
I laugh and I cry and I dream again.
A drum and incendiary tongues
darting through the low rafters
would be easier—a prophet speaking,
telling us the why of the moving earth,
the rubble of our city; even the priest
with his soft horse eyes, his mouth
moving quickly over my skin, even
that would be easier than this
silence; the dark streets of the city,
the heat in my skin, my mother
praying in the shadows, singing
from deeper than I will ever go;
and when I sing, I know how
to fly, and how to reach where
the water eases the spinning
in my stomach, and this blood
is not my enemy when I sing."
We leave you in the growing dusk,
the scent of rain is heavy in the air—
somewhere beside the broken palace,
the sky opens up, and the streets
flood—the sound of cataclysms,
so normal now—I imagine you,
like these children, dancing
in the deluge, naked as holiness.

Project

Last January's earthquake destroyed Haiti's health care system, once at the forefront of the struggle to treat and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.  A look at life since the quake, for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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