We held our breath close to our bodies
sorted words in a straitjacket
our lives between parentheses
turpentine to make hope last
fear sets up a tent
on our chest
fog invades our minds
paralyzes our limbs 
Day holds night’s hand
evenings play merry-go-round with mornings
the days turn in circles 
until they feel dizzy
we forget all debts, all promises
projects overflow like water springs
the earth sips in with a straw
Clocks are unwinding
under life’s rubble
our voices engraved on text messages
a colony of ants bring us news
daredevils armed with shovel 
and pickax
scrape gravel with fingernails
faithfully, block after block 
hope pursues a hunchbacked miracle 
at the end of a tunnel
“Anba dekonm” © 2012 by Guy-Gérald Ménard. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Chantal Kenol. All rights reserved.
Nou kenbe souf nou toupre kò n
lote pawòl nan kòse jistokò
lavi n anndan parantèz
terebantin pou fè lespwa dire
laperèz monte tant  
sou kòf lestomak nou
bouya anvayi sèvo n
paralize tout manm nou
Lajounen kenbe men lannuit
leswa fè wonn ak lematen
jou yo fè laviwonn jouk yo sou 
nou bliye dèt bliye pwonmès
pwojè defofile tankou sous dlo 
tè ap souse nan chalimo
Revèy ap pèdi chenn
anba dekonm lavi
vwa nou grave sou SMS
foumi pote nouvèl ban nou
brave danje manche pèl ak pikwa
grate ranblè ak zong 
blòk pa blòk san depasyante
lespwa rapousuiv mirak bosi
nan fon tinèl

Guy-Gerald MénardGuy-Gerald Ménard

Guy-Gerald Ménard was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After high school he traveled to the USA, where he resided for twenty years. He studied commercial art at  City College of New York, and earned an undergraduate degree from Barry University in Miami and a certificate in teachers' vocational education from Florida International University. Since his return to Haiti, Ménard devotes his time to teachers' training activities and teaching at the university. His poems are included in numerous anthologies and other publications in his country and abroad. Ménard published his first book of poetry, Similak, in 1998 and a second, Sezon malè, in 2012

Translated from Haitian CreoleHaitian Creole by Chantal KenolChantal Kenol

Chantal Kénol was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English literature, with a minor in linguistics, from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., she returned to Haiti in 1986 to work as a secondary school teacher. She is now co-principal of a private school in Port-au-Prince.  Her time is mostly divided between education and literature.  She is the executive secretary of Association Atelier Jeudi Soir, a collective of writers and artists; she is also a founding member of Association Etonnants Voyageurs, Haiti, which holds an international book and film festival in Haiti every two years, and she sits on the editorial board of the new Haitian literary magazine Demanbre.  Her poems and short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies in Haiti and in France.

photo: Marie Le Gac