Story Publication logo January 13, 2011

There is Beauty Here


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Last January's earthquake destroyed Haiti's health care system, once at the forefront of the...

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Multiple Authors

There is beauty here,
Even among the broken buildings
Broken bodies
Broken souls
In the year, the girl has grown
The space between her teeth, the gap that made her a little girl, filled
Her eyes a little wiser now
Because she knows the world is not as kind as children believe it to be
And yet, there is grace in the way she dances around the white tent
Her little arms and legs lithe, careless
Her limbs and small face overtaken by the sheer joy of living
In whatever circumstances
For while her now wise eyes have witnessed so much death and despair in this year
Her mind is still too young for the message of defeat to take hold

There is love here
In the house, a single room, with its scars
Fissures that have held together despite the red stamp the government put there, warning that the home was likely to fall apart
On a single bed, the man, woman and children nestle in the evening light
The woman holds the girl, the baby she once did not want
Because after all, how would they manage with another mouth to feed, in this collapsed world, where all seemed lost?
In the woman's face, her soft, gentle brown eyes, there is now only love
No trace of the grief, the wretchedness, the fear, the despair
That made her drink things to drive the baby out
The baby stayed, knowing, perhaps, even then that she was needed here
To light the air with her laughter,
In a place that might otherwise have been dark
To bring love to a home that might otherwise have been split into a million pieces
By those long, angry cracks that the earthquake left

There is hope here
In the strength of women
Their worn hands joined
Their voices raised in song
Defiant against the men who come at night to ravage their bodies, to steal their dignity, to silence them
Yes, there is no justice in this place
But that does not stop the women from singing, loudly, passionately
"Women of Haiti, come together,"
It is this chain of women who sustain the hope
Who feed and clothe and fight and cry
And love
Who see beyond what is in front of them
The broken buildings
Broken bodies
Broken souls
To a time where everything is righted
Where this place is turned on its head
So that these poor women, the meek, the powerless
The ones who have been trodden on
Can cast this world differently
Yes, a year has passed, but what is a year?
What is a year?
The road is long, but we will walk it, the women say
Our hands together, our voices raised in song



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