Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Since 9-11, a Commemorative Poem

In recent years I've written essay after essay. I haven't written a poem, I think, in decades,  until today, the 11th Anniversary of 9-11.
Above my porch today,
as bright a blue and cloudless sky

as the crystalline view through my classroom window,
eleven years ago,


Second period of that past brilliant day,
a gangly group of sophomores held, for the first time

the story of the Finches: Scout, Jem and Atticus,
in their hands.
The promise of a new school year wrapped in the promise of the still fresh millennium.

At my classroom door,
 a teacher on hall duty appeared.

“ Did ya hear?”  he, by nature not an interrupter, asked.
“A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.”

“How unlucky:
 a misguided plane,

a planeful of passengers,

the business men and women,”
I remarked, before,

back to our paperbacks, I continued to read aloud  how

“Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself,”
on page 11.

And before I could finish Chapter One
of the  American classic

the not-by-nature-an-interrupter
appeared at my door again

with news of a second plane,
calling  crash number one
the first  domino of deliberately staged disaster,

a chain still reacting as he spoke.

And  I, a rarely-deviate-from-the-lesson sort of instructor,

switched from the planned introduction of classic fiction

to the live drama of Brokaw on the classroom TV
designating the Big Apple  the epicenter of epic tragedy.

A grandmother now,
I sit on my porch
and gaze at the similar  blue heavens,

never having forgotten how quickly  bright cloudless Day
can turn to monochromatic Night

filled with the swirling smoke and ash of buildings and human debris.

” Never again,” I  pray,
compelled to linger by this September's fading zinnias,

hoping that the butterflies will still come.          

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