Accounting for the Damage


Sixty seconds the earth shook beneath their feet


God-fumbled porcelain, the colonial palace rushing to pieces in the city center. Atlas

rolls a shoulder in fitful sleep, and hearts crumble. Dazed palm


trees studding the horizon, bayonet the sky while soldiers wander upturned roads

traffic patterns bewildered by broken lights. Missing parts. There is the scent


of apple-wine, white grape or is that frangipani. Beneath their feet, the dead

unavenged the murmur of sugar whatever else history absconds. Above, streaming


ticker tape of heaven besotted with photos though not as many. Video though not

as much. On scene the sound cuts out. In studio, talking heads are gumming


the words. Lip-synching the news, pantomime grief. You are the poorest nation they

assure us what they leave unsaid just might kill you. Think


we too understand such disasters as natural and forget the ones who preferred shark

and water-lung to hell on earth. Sixty seconds and Anacaona’s hair undone


rebraided tight as any noose with the world already winding its watch




and moving on without you

Jocelyn Burrell is a writer and typesetter and the editor of Word: On Being a [Woman] Writer.

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