In Memoriam: Fabienne Cherisma
We are thinking of you -
January in the dusty market,
Port-au-Prince. In our thoughts
the sun is high and there is laughter,
always laughter. You turn to your sister
and say: "Look. These things, you must
price them just right. Not too
high, not too low. Always just right.
That way, we can eat." We think of
you and smile.
We think of you and your market stall -
the discarded trinkets, bric-a-brac,
buffed and washed to look new.
What did you sell ? Pictures (framed),
a fold-up table. My daughter says:
"She is wise beyond her years, this girl.
She has a knack - a way of turning a penny
or two." We imagine your eyes. They sparkle,
looking out for the discarded things
that will turn, that will be transformed.
My daughter thought of you
and began to cry. The news photograph did it.
"Look" she said "A girl the same age
as me, lying dead
in the dusty market place,
My daughter's tears were not just
for you alone but for the others as well -
unknown lives merging in the
Your father carried you on
his shoulder. There was a crowd.
Foreigners. Aid workers. The British Press.
He carried you across the rubble,
through the dusty market place
and swore at the soldiers.
"I do not even possess a photo
of my daughter" he said.
"It has been buried along
with everything else."
Your father took you far from the city
and laid you to rest.
We think of you. And there are some things
we do not think of - the soldier,
for example, that callous unjust soldier,
or the reader of my newspaper, the man
from Lincolnshire, who posted
this comment: "She deserved it".
No. We think of you only and the sun
high over Port-au-Prince.
We think of you and the discarded things,
buffed, washed, turned, tansformed.