Green Offering

poetry 0
Danielle Legros Georges


Here is my first offering, love:
The first time I flew over the Citadelle
(The clouds above it shifting to bare its vast self:
Fortress meant to keep the French from ever,
If not forever, in this part of the known world),

I almost missed the parting strata of cumulus,
So engrossed in what it was I was thinking or reading
That a bump shook me left and through the tiny flat
Bubble to the exterior stream that was the plane
Window, there (below):

The formidable dream of Christophe, Monarch of the Kingdom
Of Haiti: stone upon stone, mortar of molasses, quicklime,
Blood, Haitians say, of men and women who could divine
Their futures and break the line of time
Un-enslaved to rise from the bottom
To you, to me.

When we land in Cap-Haïtien, the sun has already hit the top
Of the sky. No shadows appear in front or behind.
The animals move without their dark doubles, the flowers
Are all at once at the Hotel gates. Here is a lunch
Of grilled fish with the reminder of History.

Here is the money we can pay for the ancestral. The horses
To the hilltop fortress, the ruins of Sans-Souci Palace.
The wrought iron fences. The town square
Of the country’s first capital in which we sit
Like wingless birds, hearing the clock tower
Strike one, strike two.

Danielle Legros Georges is a poet, translator, essayist, and the author of two books of poetry, Maroon and The Dear Remote Nearness of You, the chapbook Letters from Congo, and editor of City of Notions: An Anthology of Contemporary Boston Poems. She served as Boston’s second Poet Laureate and teaches at Lesley University.