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Tragic Tuesday

by Nicola Burnell

It took seconds to turn a nation into rubble
To end one hundred and fifty thousand lives
I tip tea into my china cup
And wince at the news of this latest destruction

Grey dust settles over bodies pinned beneath homes and schools
As screams erupt from panic stricken survivors
Cries for help heard around the world
Through high definition television

Rescuers straddle concrete graves straining to hear the breath of life
As abandoned bodies lie in the streets, no time to identify the dead
Numbed by this horror I sip my tea
In the safety of my Cape Cod living room

Children carry parents on scraps of wood to a makeshift morgue
Where corpses pile up like trash in the parking lot of the hospital
I reach for the comfort of chocolate
And surf channels for more sad news

Lives frozen, families shattered, survivors stunned
Cracked crypts become recycled graves
Hours pass and tea becomes red wine
I gasp at rescue workers creeping across precarious rubble

A child is found after five days in a concrete coffin
Though skeletal, he smiles at the mother who refused to give up hope
I sigh with relief at their moment of joy, then switch it off and walk away
Curling up beneath a soft fleece blanket, I try to forget

But the nightmare continues
With new images of outstretched arms rotting in the sweltering sun
Tea still tips into china cups
As a deeply unsettled world scrambles to its feet

Frustration mounts when AID sits in boxes at the shattered airport
Water trickles into towns, too slow to save lives
Reassured by the global response of money and compassion
The world catches its breath and routines are resumed

Tent towns emerge as strangers become neighbors, become family
Embraced by their own resilience
In need of inclusion I text another donation
While cooking pasta and sipping Pinot Noir

Night brings Haitian voices raised in a chorus of community
Strong, beautiful people refusing to break under the weight of their loss
As the news turns to a diamond studied million dollar wedding cake
I have to believe that we won’t forget
That we can all help rebuild Haiti
One donation at a time

“Only when it's dark enough can you see the stars”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Publisher’s Note: CapeWomenOnline is not just a magazine; it is a community that reaches across the world.

As our Haitian neighbors struggle to rebuild their lives, we hope to help keep the relief effort active long after our televisions stop broadcasting their haunting images.

This page is a place to share our reflections of what happened in Haiti. If you would like to submit your thoughts, poetry or artwork please email our editor, Katie.

We will post your submissions in future issues.

Please support the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund


Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

Graphic by Bryan Jordan

Follow this link to the video
Hope For Haiti Now-Stranded You Tube icon
(Haiti Mon Amor)