Lilas Desquiron, from Reflections of Loko Miwa, trans. Robin Orr Bodkin, 1990
Oh! Port-au-Prince is a monster all right -- you'll never get to know the whole story. She'll offer you her sumptuous gardens and extravagant villas. But for those of us tossed back into her seediest neighborhoods by misery, she has both the gentleness and the rage of a whore. A female city, Port-au-Prince sometimes cradles you with an extraordinary tenderness and sometimes spits in your face without your knowing why.
Tonight, as is often the case these days, the streets are deserted. Besides the streetwalkers, only some impenitent revelers dare to be out and about. The macadam resonates with the sound of heavy boots as the armed makout patrol the city. Some of them seem so feeble you have to wonder how they're able to carry around those heavy machine guns. But of all of Duvalier's henchmen they're certainly the most dangerous, however, because they've betrayed us by spreading misery beyond measure and their shame has driven them insane.
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