Aftermath 9-11
Paul McLaughlin

1
We trusted the blue wide open sky
until an incendiary spear stabbed the North Tower
in the heart.
We trusted the flight-path crisscrossed sky
until a jihad spear stabbed the South Tower
in the heart.
We trusted the globalizing sky
until the World Trade Center collapsed on us,
a self-annihilating cataract
of shattered glass
pulverized concrete
computers
telephones
desks
paper
photographs of children
and people          people             people
cascading    cascading         cascading
out of the sky.

2
Now there's too much sky
and we see ghosts of the twins
in travel posters thoughtlessly left up
in shop windows
we see ghosts of the twins
in the vacant space above ground zero
we see ghosts of the twins
in CN-endless replays
and we remember how we felt
when we saw the twins on fire
and we remember how we felt
when we saw the twins come down
and we remember how we felt
when we watched the freedom-choking cloud
of dust and debris shroud the sky
all the way to Main Street
and how we felt as we realized
with persistent grief
the twins are dead
the two tallest trees in our village
the beacons we oriented by,
the totem poles that told us who we are
are dead.

3
At the edge of the abyss
snarling dogs lunge against their leashes.
Firelight glints off their fangs
off the bullet-shaped studs on their collars
off the gobs of spit they spray
on passing children.
Let us go! they howl. Let us kill them!
Let them go! we scream. Let them kill them!
At the edge of the abyss
we light candles
pray for peace
descend into despair.
At the edge of the abyss
the muffled rumbles of past wars
        echo
in the darkening, lowering sky.


October, 2001

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