The Butterfly's Way

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2003-07-01
  • Publisher: Soho Press

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In this collection of 33 essays and poems, the experience of the Haitian emigre is described, with the works divided into four sections: childhood, migration, first generation, and return. Each author hauntingly describes their lives in Haiti and the United States.

Table of Contents

Present Past Futurep. 3
Dyasporap. 7
Restavekp. 12
Homelandsp. 23
Bonne Anneep. 31
Haiti: A Memory Journeyp. 36
Black Crows and Zombie Girlsp. 43
Another Ode to Saltp. 51
America, We Are Herep. 53
A Cage of Wordsp. 57
The Red Dressp. 60
Something in the Water ... Reflections of a People's Journeyp. 66
Haiti: A Cigarette Burning at Both Endsp. 83
My Suitcasesp. 89
The White Wifep. 94
You and Me against the worldp. 101
Mashe Petyonp. 109
Pour Water on My Head: A Meditation on a Life of Painting and Poetryp. 115
Chainstitchingp. 123
Made Outsidep. 125
The Million Man Marchp. 132
In Search of a Namep. 147
Reporting Silencep. 152
Vini Nou Belp. 156
Home Is ...p. 164
Map Viv: My Life as a Nyabinghi Razettep. 171
Exiledp. 174
Lost Near the Seap. 191
Adieu Miles and Good-bye Democracyp. 193
Looking for Columbusp. 201
Do Something for Your Soul, Go to Haitip. 204
A Poem about Why I Can't Waitp. 209
Lazarus Rising: An Open Letter to My Daughterp. 223
Contributorsp. 241
Glossaryp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One

Present Past Future

Marc Christophe

What will I tell you, my son?

What will I say to you, my daughter?

You for whom the tropics

Are a marvelous paradise

A blooming garden of islands floating

In the blue box

Of the Caribbean sea

What will I tell you

When you ask me

Father, speak to us of Haiti?

Then my eyes sparkling with pride

I would love to tell you

Of the blue mornings of my country

When the mountains stretch out


In the predawn light

The waterfalls flowing

With freshness

The fragrance of molasses-filled coffee

In the courtyards

The fields of sugar cane


In cloudy waves

Towards the horizon

The heated voices of peasant men

Who caress the earth

With their fertile hands

The supple steps of peasant women

On top of the dew

The morning clamor

In the plains the small valleys

And the lost hamlets

Which cloak the true heart

Of Haiti.

I would also tell you

Of the tin huts

Slumbering beneath the moon

In the milky warmth

Of spirit-filled

Summer nights

And the countryside cemeteries

Where the ancestors rest

In graves ornate

With purple seashells

And the sweet and heady perfumes

Of basilique lemongrass

I would love to tell you

Of the colonial elegance of the villas

Hidden in the bougainvilleas

And the beds of azaleas

And the vast paved trails

Behind dense walls

The verandahs with princely mosaics


With large vases of clay


With sheets of ferns

Pink cretonnes

Verandahs where one catches

A breath of fresh air

During nights

Of staggering heat

By listening to

The sounds of the city

Rising up to the foothills

I would love to recite for you

The great history

Of the peoples of my country

Their daily struggles

For food and drink

Tireless people

Hardworking people

Whose lives are a struggle

With no end

Against misery



In the open markets

Under the sun's blazing breath

I would want to make you see

The clean unbroken streets

Straight as arrows

Bordered by the green

Of royal palms and date palms in bloom

I would love to make you admire

The shadowed dwellings

The oasis of green

Of my Eden

I would carry you

On my shivering wings

To the top of Croix D'Haiti

And from there

Your gaze would travel over

These mountains

These plains

These valleys

These towns

These schools

These orphanages

These studios

These churches

These factories

These hounforts

These prayer houses

These universities

These art houses

Conceived by our genius

Where hope never dies.

Copyright 2001 Edwidge Danticat. All rights reserved.

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