Konch Magazine - For Boadiba by Tenessee Reed

For Boadiba by Tenessee Reed

January 12, 2010 a 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti

I worry about whether my friend Boadiba
is dead under the rubble
or whether she is injured or sick
I have images of her sleeping in the streets
with no food, 
with only the clothes on her back
I wonder if she would be able to come out of Haiti
or if she will be stuck down there
limbs sticking out of a building’s foundation
trapped in an elevator
fallen through a hole in the streets
killed by a looter
kidnapped by the Ton Ton
trampled by the fleeing crowds
stranded in a place
where no one can hear her
dehydrated from lack of water of
at the business end of an American bayonet
whether she has an infected wound or a broken leg

Finally I hear from her
She says she’s okay
The house “rocked like a boat,” she says
but it didn’t fall
She is with her sister
in the hills above the suburb of Pétionville
located east of the city
She slept two nights in the driveway
but returned to the house
for fear of being kidnapped
by the prisoners who tried 
to kidnap her sister the year before
They were out of jail 
because of the earthquake
and are back roaming the streets
My friend’s knee is injured
making her immobile
and making it difficult for her to ride in a car
Her sister volunteers in a Port au Prince hospital
while Boadiba recuperates in the house
“I came to Haiti to relax and go to the beach and to get a tan,” she tells me
“But I got an earthquake instead”

She tells me that the huge, bear like dogs
that her brother owns didn’t need a warning
They jumped up and ran
before the earthquake hit Eureka 
my deceased cat Happy who acted strangely
while the neighborhood dogs
barked for a week
before the Loma Prieta quake hit
They are smarter than us
They don’t need to debate global warning
They just move north

My friend did not see the people in the slums
but she hears stories from her sister and friends
They say that the people are camped out on blankets 
irritated at news cameras stuck in their faces
I see newsreels and photographs
of a woman feeding her infant daughter baby food
She glares at a CNN camera
A group of men with poker faces stand against a fence
They throw things at the cameras
Another American invasion
I see people being treated for injuries and illnesses
by Cuban doctors in medical tents
A small boy with a large bandage wrapped around his head 
looks curiously at the camera while he sucks on two fingers
He is sitting in his mother’s lap
A teenage girl lies in a hospital bed
and talks to her doctors in French
after they amputate her leg
She smiles at them
Before the cameras pack up and move onto another story
their philosophy “If it bleeds, it leads,”
much attention is given to the fate of the White missionaries
instead of the thousands of Haitians dying in buildings

Boadiba went for a vacation
And produced an earthquake diary instead

Yesterday Chilé was struck by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake
I wonder if we in northern California are going to be next
What is the planet trying to tell us?