Invoking the Flood


Sudden rain descends outside our dining room.
Drops the size of thimbles strike the courtyard awning
in rackety thunder.
People run to bring cushions in from chairs
take down clothes from the line
shut windows.

Run-off from the brief downpour
converges on the city below
built on the dump.
The child care center is knee-deep in brown water.
Mud and garbage flow in a filthy slurry
from surrounding suburbs down to Cité Soleil,
the city of the sun.

A wall surrounds the city of toil
where people slaved for a dollar a day
in cavernous buildings now echoing empty.
In the brief rain unsound foundations crumble.
The wall goes down crushes lean-to shacks.
Five people die.

Laws of gravity, reverse!
Water, flow uphill!

Cleanse of filth the city of darkness.
Purify each crack and corner
of the city of greed.
Wash clean our lives.
Prepare us to build a city of light.

Carolyn Scarr is program coordinator for Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC and an active member of Haiti Action Committee. Read other articles by Carolyn.