After that it was a pretty normal week, finishing up the first quarter of our school year, grading students' work, not writing anything much of my own because my head was so full. But I kept thinking back to that earthquake, those few moments of oh yeah, that's what it feels like.
Here's an article about Saturday's quake, which hit the northern part of the island. Seventeen people were killed, in the latest count, and nearly 350 injured. Reportedly, many of the injuries came when people, terrified by memories of the destruction in 2010, jumped out of windows when they felt the ground begin to shake. The experts tell you to get under something and stay put, but let me tell you: when you've been through a major earthquake, every single instinct you have is to get out.
Poster in Kreyol from the Haitian Ministry of Communication
Goudougoudou, in the above poster, is a Kreyol word for earthquake. People started using it after 2010. It's onomatopoeia, based on the ominous rumbling noise when all that concrete shook with all that force.
On Thursday I spent some enjoyable time reading Tony Hoagland poems at the Poetry Foundation website, and I chose this one, "Personal," to share for Poetry Friday. My favorite lines are these:
Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts
but I couldn't and I didn't and I don't
believe in the clean break;
I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,
I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back
and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I'm-Sorries
like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.
Oh life! Can you blame me
for making a scene?
(Here's the whole thing.)
I wouldn't exactly say I don't believe in the clean break; some people seem perfectly able to achieve it. They get over things and move on, leaving behind situations, people, traumas. At least on the outside, they seem unaffected. I think the compound fracture is more common, though, based on my own experience, and conversations with others, including a couple I had this week about the disgruntled, angry, overwhelmed, scared mixture of emotion we were feeling after the earthquake, icky unwelcome Saturday night visitor. Get over it, some say, and I reply, Well, I don't want to make a scene, but I can't seem to help it, some days.