"She is still here," said the guide,
points to the girl a short distance away.
The naive nuance of her laugh
travels on the scent of the insouciant breeze
A friend was braiding her hair. Then
she stops. Playfulness halted by a rigid chill .
The skinny friends big eyes blink slow,
enough breath space for incredible memory to be made real
then she hugs her shoulders
wipes her face. They do not see
There are no locks.
There was no knock,
just a hiss
as the venom slid under
her mouth mashed
by hot palm
in her belly now
shards - pinned
under fathoms of poison
passing into her
stripping innocence from her bones.
A malignancy lingers,
a ringing residue, a hum that numbs the passing of that night.
It died a mournful death in a culture which celebrates
greetings from ancestors, who wait with a blanket
and sweet water in clay bowls.
A sad crossing from girlhood to womanhood,
a yard before her third menstruation,
a story away from joyous excitement
of her full blossoming.
|Image source: Dangerous Camps. Click to go to article|
"She is in the camp still. She has no-one, but she is brave."
The teeth went deep,
the injection was clinical-
the venom clings.
The buff of a waterfall from free flowing virtuous rivers
over vertiginous ridges
won't scourer her clean,
but the children will still play and women reason
rubbing suds and laundry on the rocks.
Her smile has returned - the soft measured plosives
of a friends careful words burst her absorption.
The skinny girl pecks her forehead,
returns attention to her hair.
And so it goes, till when she's ready
to release: grey stillness, intermittent flares of light - blaze.
She fights back the scent of semen - a chemical burn
on her virginity - the stain that spoiled a vista
of fresh vestal verdancy, now a wizened rainforest
on the broken belt of the coast seen from the satellite
of intermittent disembodiment
"It could be anyone.
The epidemic is spreading,
no one is safe these days."
"What is the antidote?" I say out loud.
"No one knows
yet. But the women have strong spines here."
written By Zena Edwards©
Written in response to the shocking reports of the rape epidemic in the settlements camps post the January 12th, 2012 Haiti earthquake.