Author's Note: Until recently I could never quite finish a 9/11 poem. I guess I just couldn't face the chilling event. Perhaps, it required another horror, like the one we're currently living through, before taking on--even in this somewhat oblique way--the one we experienced almost nineteen years ago. Since I don't know if I'll live long enough for my Covid-19 poems to ripen, I better get to work on them sooner, rather than waiting for later. For more revisionist history, visit alanwalowitz.com
Was a long day, by any measure, though we didn’t think to measure, then. Unlike now when, we might note, the days speed by like calendar-leaves in an old movie. Some say this comes with age, but others insist from lack of desire. I say the latter, though it didn’t seem to matter, the way this day seized, as if all the oil in it had been drained. Still summer, though near the end, days limping to meet the equinox, this one bright and pretty, no augury of fall in the air or much on the ground, the few early leaves swept neatly to the curbs, the neighbors having wordlessly agreed this would make all the difference, temper the coming darkness, stem the night. Then, we waited at the community house that had been arranged for just such times— nothing else to be done, we figured, but be at the end of a long line of strangers similarly inclined, not able to think of where to be, in a world so eerily quiet. My wife and I, our daughter in tow, young then, snatched from school early, and no one-- not the principal over the loudspeaker, not her teacher, not even us, quite able to explain or make her believe what happened might ever be righted. Finally, then, after minutes of waiting that seemed like years, a sad-faced lady emerged in mussed pinafore. She was young, but at that distance, looked like she had been at war, and speaking, then, as loudly as she could muster. What did she say? What did she say? asked one to the next down the long line like a telephone wire though already frayed from the front, and now from the sides, much like us all. Got more than we need, she said, then. Most are dead, we think. Could try again, tomorrow. But, maybe, call before you come.
©2020 Alan Walowitz
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