Being a Haitian Woman

Being a Haitian woman

Means always being the first

But often forgotten

It means grandma never went

To school

So teaching her to write Cicelda

Was my biggest accomplishment

Being a Haitian woman

Is diri, saucepwa, griot and pikliz

Being a Haitian woman

Is being mother of a nation

It's goddesses, spirits and ancestors

Flowing through my body

As a medium

Being a Haitian woman is loving

My dark skin

full lips

Thick brows

Slightly gapped front teeth

And wooly curls

It's L'union fait la force rue. 2

And remembering the chay

Cicelda carried by the aches in her body

Being a Haitian woman

is having the spirits of my mother

My grandmother

Madame and tia

Festering inside of me

Forcing me to

Speak our truth

For the next generation

It's birthing new beginnings in

A body that's been


Breathing new life

Into a country

Who's enemies have been

Colonialism, capitalism

And predatory rulers

It's being forced

To hate the religion that

Gave us revolution

It's rejecting the

French and embracing and Taino

Being a Haitian woman is being told your limits

And setting

Goals that frighten people

So much

They call you an outlier

Being a Haitian woman is being told

You have no capitol

Low currency

A breeding ground from disaster

and though it's presented it's challenges

I couldn't tell them the were wrong faster

So instead of proving them anything

I walked on the backs of my ancestors

And let my lineage speak for itself

It may not be the dialect you prefer

But I wouldn't want anything else

by Valencia Clement

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