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News & Features » July 2014 » Hear Katia D. Ulysse Read “Take a Picture”

Hear Katia D. Ulysse Read “Take a Picture”

To celebrate the release of Drifting, we’re pleased to feature an audio recording of “Take a Picture” read by author Katia D. Ulysse. “Take a Picture” was previously featured on our website with two other vignettes, none of which are found in her debut collection. You can find them—along with a post from Katia on her writing process and inspiration—here. Also check out Katia’s recent interview with Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2: The Classics editor Edwidge Danticat at Salon here.

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Take a Picture
Written in 2004

Drifting_currentPink lips pucker to kiss shy black boys begging for crumbs, naked girls ashamed and afraid.

She vows to win this war against poverty. The photographer’s lens is her loaded gun. She poses, remembering to rub her blue eyes to summon the redness. The sadness. Tears and dark circles are priceless in this place.

“I will cry for the magazines. There will be talk shows. Interviews. I will say Good Morning to everyone in America. Sak pase?”

Yes, the sadder the eyes the better. Look at these desperate children. See how I feed them. See how I care for them. See how much I love them. See how often I bury them. Digging little graves with my own hands. Take a picture.

Snap!

Take another. And another. Yes.

Haitians don’t care about their own children. But I do. I do. Oh yes, I do. See. Take another picture. Wait. Let me fix my blouse. A little cleavage goes a long way. And I’m going far, baby. What do you say, Mister Photographer? Take another. No. wait.

Somebody come quick. Find me a baby to hold in my arms. No. Not this one. This one looks too healthy. Give me that one over there. That one is perfect. Sunken eyes. A deformed head. Ashy skin. Parched lips. Flies. Oh, yes, thank you.

Thank you, this baby will do well. This will be great in the press. The talk show hostess will cry out In the Name of God!

Take a picture, mister photographer. I need to show the world how much I care about Haiti’s children. I can go on all the talk shows in the world, but a picture is worth a million words—at a dollar each!

Take another. Yes. Yes. How much film you got in that camera?

***

Katia D. Ulysse

KATIA D. ULYSSE was born in Haiti, and moved to the United States as a teen. Her writings have been published in numerous literary journals, including the Caribbean Writer, Meridians, Calabash, Peregrine, and Smartish Pace, among others. Her work has also appeared in The Butterfly’s Way and Haiti Noir. Her first children’s book, Fabiola Can Count, was published in 2013. Ulysse lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. When she’s not reading, writing fiction, gardening, or teaching, she blogs on VoicesfromHaiti.com. Drifting is her first book of fiction.

Posted: Jul 29, 2014

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