Where are the women running, Lord,
their purses hooked on sleepless shoulders,
their streets flush with chairs,
with unshaven African gods?
Mason who made Port-au-Prince,
Mason who unmade the city in seven seconds,
you have made me, and ruined me.
Lord of cement and ricket,
you shaped us all in your own image —
every desiccated would-be grand-mère,
every lumpen soon-to-be amputee,
every mambo priestess bedecking her household altar
with a white candle and a glass of clear water.
Do I dare to say the morning sky
above this smashed commune is lovely,
the soft clouds smirched with a little pink?
It is your loveliness and it is everywhere —
Lord, your loveliness is in the scream and the triage,
in my own uncleanness, in my brain’s perfidy.
Your loveliness is in the mash of wrists and shins,
in lean youths sturdying the beams
of their sniffer-frantic flashlights.
Your mother has emerged in the shape
of a wounded teenage girl.
Her scarred nostrils remember the flip flops
wrenched free from every
uptick on the Richter scale.
Her nose remembers the brio of my bed alarm,
my night sweats, my hospital johnny
ripping from chafe to chill.
Where are your disciples leading the Virgin, Lord,
one crooking Her right arm around his neck,
one gripping Her at Her underarm,
his fingers flailing epistles to the air,
and tapping out the keen conundrum
of an omnipotent and merciful God?