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Sunday, March 17, 2024


by Jerrice J. Baptiste

Le Nègre Marron

A long-simmering crisis over Haiti’s ability to govern itself, particularly after a series of natural disasters and an increasingly dire humanitarian emergency, has come to a head in the Caribbean nation, as its de facto president remains stranded in Puerto Rico and its people starve and live in fear of rampant violence. —NBC News, March 15, 2024

I long for sanctuaries of your forests.
Chirping bird—Hispaniolan Trogon.
Enduring name of long ago
La Perle des Antilles
Shimmering light.

I long for your full peasant skirts
flowing with countryside
breeze, where bare 
feet imprint

I long to be eating sizzling Fritaille 
griot, fried plantains, and pikliz 
of red & yellow hot bonnet 
peppers dancing 
in my belly.

I long for Krik-Krak from uncles. 
Stories told in backyards.
Laughter of familiar 
voices greeting

I long to bathe your infants 
in tranquil turquoise sea.
Dress your daughters
in white organza 

I long for your Taino fathers
wearing red & indigo flags 
during carnival or Rara
dancing to Djembe 

I long for your Taino mothers 
Poto-Mitan, ivory backbone 
of our homes. Selling
clusters of quenepe
at street market.

I long for your white conch shell 
blown by bronze lips  
breaking chains.
Le Nègre 

Jerrice J. Baptiste is an author of eight books and a poet in residence at the Prattsville Art Center & Residency in NY.  She is extensively published in journals and magazines such as Artemis Journal, The Yale Review, Mantis, Eco Theo Review, The Caribbean Writer, and many others. Jerrice has been nominated as Best of The Net by Blue Stem. She has been facilitating poetry workshops for eighteen years.