Two Poems
SCHNEIDER K. RANCY



​Veneration

My immigrant grandmother 
in her winks & laughter
& stories of Vodou
teaching me everything
of Home ;

my French-reading father 
adopting
strange American aphorisms 
whose words
do not fit 
the shape
of his mouth ;

my
(sweet,sweet like honey , 
like love)Creole-singing mother 
filling the heavens with
her voice
in a language so beautiful 
the stars sit to listen
& their tears fall
like meteors —

migrants
who have traversed
seas & boundaries & worlds

Haiti
        Puerto Rico
Cuba
        Nigeria
Vietnam
        Mexico
China

to come here
for the wisps of a dream 
& I wonder
not if but how much
they’ve lost( 

the clear scattered sunlight ringing 
        on the ocean
or the screaming rooster dancing at dawn
        neighbors’ children playing in the street
car honks
        framed by dusty mountains
music with vibrant explosive rhythm & 
        joy joy joy
the sugarcane cutters in the field 
        coming in for coconut water
countrymen who speak their language
        & 
whose tongues do not trip
        on the flavor of foods that taste 
like memory
        mayi moulin ak sos pwa tembleque jollof bánh mì 
& a people who know 
        their country their identity their pride

)innumerable fragments
loosed to the wind , light & tenuous
like leaves
a handful of dust
but heavy
with the anchorage
of heritage
to connect us
across pages of history
and the trauma
of diaspora , which
is always
a violent dispersion —

all this
they’ve surrendered
without fear
without lamentation
and when I ask 
wretched , pitiful , small
‘why?’
that history
echoes 
through their teeth
from within :
                                for you






Portrait of the Sea as

I.

Memory:
        The great powerful titan
lumbering through
        the dark
uncertain of its steps
        knowing only its own
inconstant
        beautiful
wavering

II.

The Haitian rebels do not waver
on the plains, nor
on the mountaintop, overlooking
the waves
not even at the galleon approaching
as General Leclerc or Francisco Arango(

                         it is all 
                         the same, history’s oppressors
                         coalesce

)look on from the bow
the eye steady, steely, oppressive —
blue as

The sea

crashes
thunders, thrashes
in its cradle
where legends will be born
of blood and fury
and sabers will quiver
in pursuit of liberty
or death

The salt-spray
stings
The flesh weeps,
an open wound
in the collective unconscious
surging, crying 
their names: 
Toussaint Louverture
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Alexandre Pétion
Henri Christophe
remembering always
these four
gilded kings

In the sea 
lies
the identity of the colonized
the buried bones
of history
whispering their song
& waiting
to be heard

III.

The sea

is eternal
prevails over men
subsumes all history
in sand and surf
To gaze into the sea
is to reconcile the totality
& insignificance 
of man 

generation & destruction :
forever ending & unending

Collapse

            breathe

break

            live !

The sea
is our history
The sea
is the sea





SCHNEIDER K. RANCY is a first-generation Haitian-American writer born in South Florida. He is a graduate of Columbia University, where he earned a BA in English & Comparative Literature and Biology. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Columbia New Poetry, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Ars Medica, Apogee, The Seventh Wave, and Moko Magazine. His unpublished novel BEYOND THE BATHS OF STARS was selected as a semi-finalist for Black Lawrence Press’s 2017 The Big Moose Prize and a finalist for the University of New Orleans’ 2017 Publishing Laboratory Contest. He is currently a medical student living in Brooklyn, NY.



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SPRING 2019