Putain de Temps: On Missing Home (Haiti)

Dear God, this is a miss poem.

I miss childhood. I miss my imagination. The worlds I created with well... I don't quite remember and that's what is so damn heartbreaking. I miss my imaginary friend, Jelhane, who I don't remember either but of whom my mom was so fond. I miss the hot Caribbean sun. The hustle and bustle of downtown Port-au-Prince, its saleswomen and dirty, half-naked boys selling everything under the sun. I miss waiting for a ride to school every morning. The conversations I had with the saleswomen. The smell of coffee in the morning, the men who bought the coffee but always spilled some for the departed. The saleswomen selling bananas, hard-boiled eggs, with pikliz. I miss "pate ze" with hot dogs and pikliz or "pate aranso."  I miss Christmastime. Running around in the dark with firecrackers. Wishing random strangers "jwaye nwel e bon ane." I miss childhood.

I miss the hot summer days spent at the spring. Eating mangoes and tamarind til tummies hurt. I miss climbing trees, running, falling. I miss dominoes and cards. Skipping ropes and dolls. Fritay and dancing. Oh how I miss dancing. I used to dance. All the time, I used to dance. I miss dancing. I don't dance anymore. I miss hot afternoon suns, singing in the back of a pick-up truck, tennis lessons after school. Art classes and piano lessons. Saturdays of leisure, Sunday morning masses and afternoons with Grand'Nana. I miss my great grandmother and her loving smile. Her coffee and the many ways she spoiled me. I miss the way her yellow skin wrinkled, her long and beautiful black hair, which she always insisted on dyeing, and the many people she fed. I miss her comforting presence, the way her eyes lit up when she saw me. I miss her love. Her unconditional love. I miss my Grand'Nana.

I childhood innocence. Without a care in the world. The many friends I played with. The boy who declared himself my boyfriend, followed me around like a lost puppy and gave me my first kiss. How beautiful he was. God I hope he is still alive. I miss dark starry nights. Moonlight stories and my mom yelling at me to come home. I miss the potential everyone saw in me. The pride they took in me. The many people who always wanted to please me. I miss la Riviere de l'Estere and Fete St Jerome in late Septembers. Mardi Gras and three days of Carnaval. I miss being on stage, being one of the smartest students in my classes. And living in the moment, never really caring if there was a tomorrow. I miss coloring and painting, writing songs, and making up dances. I miss Steve and the many fights we fought. I miss Nadege and how she loved me. How patient she was with me. I miss Chachou. My Oncle Ilitch and his paintings. I miss never really fitting in. Oncle Yves and his stories. Oncle Jean and his books. Tante Tete and her secrets. Visiting my grandfather and the many books he gave me.

I miss my childhood. I miss my home. I miss Haiti. Mwen Sonje Lakay.

I miss the part of me that will never again be. I miss not knowing better. Putain the temps. I miss me.

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