Haiti at Tomatillo

I have been slow to put into words the disaster that is Haiti— until we received a difficult call on our way to a Mexican restaurant. Somehow the call and the ordinary moments that followed converged; I didn't eat much supper but rather watched my family and opened my hands to a poem...

"Haiti at Tomatillo"

Roasted winter
squash and black
bean burrito, with
cilantro pesto sauce

sounded good,
promised maybe,
so I ordered

but it wasn't what
I hoped it would be;
my littlest daughter
poured tomatillo salsa

on rice, lettuce crisp,
her eyes brimmed
hot tears, chin quivered,

"It's spicy," she said,
"the bad thing is you
can't unspice it." And
I remembered his

words in answer to
the call, just as we'd
been looking to turn

onto Cedar Street.
It seemed to me he
was meeting the voice
on the other end

with a mirror tone
of soft muted sorrow,
"They found the body?"

and I imagined his friend's
face on the line nodding
yes, black eyes melting, yes
black like the eyes of

the hostess here, black
like forever. My husband
now lifting a red plastic

cover, noting with a turn
of parchment paper
that indeed his last
tortilla had slipped by;

so he did what anyone
might do and closed
the empty container.

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Blogger Kathleen said...

A silent sigh, silent tears. We have nothing close to home like this. So sorry. Your poem a poem to "care for grief to care it away" (Strict Joy)

Anonymous Heidi said...

these words, so simple, arrest me.

Blogger Joy said...

words in answer to
the call, just as we'd
been looking to turn

this tumbles in my mind.

just when we think grief is not attending, it is-
when we want to turn away, it is there. And there is the call...

My heart is called to Haiti. So close, and yet, so far.

Blogger Susan Deborah said...

A very moving juxtaposition of two realities in the present.

Haiti brings out the human kindness that strikes a chord at many levels.

Joy always.

Blogger Megan Willome said...

I love poems like this in which what we cannot process intrudes into our everyday life. I think that especially happens around food.

One friend from Haiti said it best in an email: "It's the apocalypse."

Anonymous Maureen said...

This is a gorgeous piece of writing. It moved me deeply.

(I finally made it back to Curator to read your Jan. 1 article. The poem here is a perfect example of you what in that piece.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are way ahead of me... I can't bring myself to write yet... Thank you, LL for this....

Blogger Laura said...

No words for this one. Those dark eyes have been haunting.

Blogger deb said...

you bring your elegance
to this


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