Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A 9/11 Poem

Soon came the structure for remembrance,
Videos and journals, brick and steel work:
The half-naked Cell-Phone Jumper,
The Waving Woman in the afterlife-window,
Descending from different heights, sing-u-lar-ly,
Almost alone.

The Falling Man became a book; brave distillation.

There were other men and women. They held hands,
Leaping and clenching,
Their slow limbs (makeshift bungee-ropes, orange-black, failing)

Almost still.

Most of the dying was less spectacular,
Invisibly done,
Almost condemned to silence
By siren, heat, debris, pavement screaming.
All of this,
But a solidarity of the last telephoned words of that world,
For those who could still part lips:

I love you.

(Where were you when...?)
I was leaving school.

During English, my brother caught the second hit,
As it happened, that swell of extinction.

My no-bullshit grandmother,
A different evacuee, overlapping centuries,
Had telephoned my mother to say:
'You should turn on the television,
I think history is taking place.'

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