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Aidan Rooney: Think Back | Emmelie Prophète

 after Un Jour Rappelle-toi… by Emmelie Prophète

Think back, some day,
to this dismembered city, 
its sounds, squalor and dolor. 
No one is to blame for betrayal,
here or on the blue sidewalk of another continent.
Madness serves its purpose.
We buckle down and come up with
exit strategies.
I gather from your eyes
emptiness must be reinvented.  
Listen to the prayer in our loins
muffled by the heft of words.
The hole in your blue jeans
is the one window open
to hope.
Everyone likes a city walk.
Our cries when we have nothing left
are dead-ends
like your silences.


Un jour rappelle-toi 
cette ville dépecée 
entre le bruit, la bêtise et la douleur. 
On a créé l’infidélité, 
le bleu des trottoirs d’un autre continent. 
La folie est devenue utile. 
Nous nous appliquons à dessiner 
des portes de sortie 

Depuis tes yeux 
le vide est à réinventer. 

Écoute la prière de nos sexes 
étouffée par le poids des mots 
le trou de votre blue jean 
est la seule fenêtre 
qui donne sur l’espoir 

On rêve tous de trottoirs. 
Les cris de notre nudité 
sont sans issue 
comme vos silences.

Emmelie Prophète (born 1971) is a Haitian writer, poet and diplomat. She was born in Port-au-Prince and studied law and modern literature at the Université de Port-au-Prince and communications at Jackson State University. She has served as an attaché at the embassy in Haiti and in Geneva. Prophète has also hosted a jazz program on Radio-Haïti. She has served as director of the Haiti Direction Nationale du Livre and the Bureau haïtien du droit d’auteur. In 2014, she was named head of the National Library of Haiti. Her novel The Villages of God is currently being translated by Aidan Rooney. Un Jour Rappelle-toi is from her second poetry collection Sur Parure d’Ombre (Mémoire, 2004).

Emmelie Prophète

Aidan Rooney’s collections of poetry include Go There published by MadHat Press.

Translation copyright 2021 Aidan Rooney.

One comment on “Aidan Rooney: Think Back | Emmelie Prophète

  1. Barbara Huntington
    March 5, 2021

    Love this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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