Almost a year ago, I read this post where Margaret linked us to "How Long Peace Takes," by Naomi Shihab Nye. Margaret and her students had written poems inspired by Nye's idea. Margaret's was called "How Long Healing Takes." The day I read the post, I decided to write a poem on the same idea, and this past week, I finally did. I started out thinking about healing in general, but given the time of year and the place my mind had been, I ended up writing about the Haiti earthquake. I feel as though I should apologize for writing about it so much, but since not everyone is in my head all the time the way I am, maybe it doesn't seem as frequent a topic to you as it does to me.
There are two of us in my writing group who were here in Haiti when the earthquake happened in 2010. This week we talked about it. She reported having a difficult, painful anniversary. This year it all seemed a little more distant to me, as though healing might finally be coming to my heart.
How Long Healing Takes in Port-au-Prince
As long as fault lines.
As long as a crack stretches on a concrete wall.
As long as the date January 12th
And the time 4:53
Make your stomach hurt,
And then a little more.
As long as rain falls on unmarked graves.
As long as a row of tents fades in the sun.
As long as the flamboyant tree is bare of red blossoms,
And then until it blooms again,
But maybe not this year or next or the next.
As long as someone remembers before and during and after.
As long as the earth moves every day somewhere,
Even if it isn’t here.
If it’s here again.
Healing takes as long as it takes, and I hope that whatever wounds you're experiencing now or healing from, you'll have hope today. A good place to start is Violet's roundup today, where she has some very hopeful words, plus links to everybody else's Poetry Friday offerings.
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