You who have known hunger
until you could come by a paper bill

You who've known the formula
whereby a dub sack comes to a jail cell

You who've known the extra hours'
cost to your back,
what portion of a crib it buys
(or how much yours, how much layaway's)

You who, but for the lack of twenty dollars, left 
or stayed

who still cringes recalling
that this trifling bill
bought your boss an afternoon
of hospitality
or care
(pretending that you didn't sweat
while disinfecting the dog spa,
while changing your enemy’s diapers, 
while polishing the chandeliers, 
the silverware...)

You knew that their wealth was our toil
so of course you also knew
of the death marches
and the Hermitage

And since you often had an empty stomach,
you knew better than to dwell on his image
No doubt you knew to count your cash
but also
that to stop and see that devil’s face 
was to give credence to the lie of its worth
which made you sick
and yet…

You are invited

We're throwing a party
down at L'ouverture Square
in front of the old cathedral

And as always,
we’ll be celebrating
hard-won liberation

So please come ready
with stories and songs
Remind us just how sweet it was
each time you toppled
a tribute to their rule
and proved our strength in the act

With their tender, we’ll light a beautiful fire