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Saturday, May 13, 2023


by Indran Amirthanayagam

An old man chats in creole
on a bench by Prospect Park.
Along Empire Boulevard

a group of teens high-five
kouman ou ye, sak pase;
a writer, deep in a book,

puts it aside and stares
into space, mouths
a silent cry, Ayiti,

in and about the
park on an early May
afternoon, the air 

warm, every language 
out for a stroll but all 
in a handmaiden's role 

to the tongue sung 
loudest in exile. 
in 2023, that country 

in the Caribbean Sea
boiling and burning 
and sending its children 

and women, men 
and old men and 
old women, all

who can find a way
out via the new deals
of sponsorship

or the old murderous
tricks of climbing
aboard rickety boats

to live or die
in the sea
beyond the Keys.

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books)Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is the newest collection of Indran's own poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.