Natasha Labaze: Hunger

Every day, every hour, every minute, every second
The stomachs growled with hunger…
The stomachs moaned in yearning…
The stomachs growled with anger…

The anger
The hunger
Rumbled beneath the earth

Earth sake
For God’s sake…

The Hungry stomachs rumbled,
So loud
Not to destroy
But to be heard
To find solace
They heaved a sigh
A sigh that came with a wave of destruction
Since the distended bellies
And dusty bare feet
Were not noticed as the SUV passed highly by

The earth rumbled from below
A fault line
Line between the have and have-nothing
A fault line
The walls crumbled
The high walls of mansions
Separating the have-more-than-needed from the have-less-than-needed
The walls did not mean to crumble on the people
The fallen walls wanted to unite the people

See–only the walls could see both sides of the world
The pools on one side
The empty dry gallons hanging from a child’s hand, on the other side
The walls could no longer bear such a discrepancy
The walls could no longer bear such a paradox
The earth grumbled…Rumbled with hunger…for 35 seconds

Suddenly, the world stood still and noticed
Just for a moment…
People united and put their cents in a common pot
Of love and concern

The child’s stomach continues to rumble…
In every corner of Haiti,
A child goes to sleep beneath the stars
Numb from hunger….

The earth…

Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 20, 2011

*   *   *

Natasha Labaze is an English teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her parents are Haitian and moved to the United States in the 1960s. Her late mother instilled her with a love for Haiti. She has recently published a prose poem entitled, “Reflections on Water” in the online literary magazine, Tanbou.  She has also published a piece, “Love Letter to Haiti” in Bronx Biannual, Issue 2.

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