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M. Ayodele Heath

A Sharecropper's Pantoum

'The drug cocktails that have slashed the mortality rate of HIV-positive people in the U.S. and Western Europe are all but non-existent in Haiti. [O]nly 3 to 4 percent of people with AIDS [there] have access to the newest drugs.'
-The Chicago Tribune,2003

Hauling this pine box on a black Chevrolet,
I pray to a candle at the end of its wick.
White burial clothes in a garbage bag,
I ride for a place to die.

I pray to a candle at the end of its wick
on the mud road home from Port-au-Prince
and ride toward a place to die
where mangoes hang and sugarcane turns.

By the dust road home from Port-au-Prince,
I am a black skeleton—6 feet tall, yet 90 pounds—
where mangoes hang and sugarcane burns.
I turned the earth before I got this thing.

A lesioned skeleton—a rainbow tall, now 70 pounds—

[...] Read more

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