(written one decade ago, dusted off here in memory of the fallen, including a classmate from NJ):
11 Lines for September
In Memory of Daniel Gallagher, North Tower
b. July 4, 1978 – d. September 11, 2001
Every tongue fell mute that morning
Four jets, an unholy quartet, aimed their noses
At a nation’s market, mansion and military
Poets on their fire escapes, trashmen on their hills
The recital halls and stadiums were mortuary still
A city that raced the sun to its every setting
Stopped. But once the cameras regained their focus
Once candles cooled on every bench and bumper
Cabbies and curators, theologians and thieves – each and all agreed:
It will take more than fear, and fear’s fierce promoters,
To distract our common cause.
* * * * * * * * * * *
After the ash had settled over lower Manhattan
Bus stops flaked with photos of the missing
The outer boroughs grew uneasy in the shadow
Of a diminished and defeated looking skyline.
But there, in the still-warm ruins, a rescue team
Discovered the unscathed remains of a Rodin
His Thinker jutting fork-like from rock and wire
Still locked in a pose of private contemplation.
He lay upside down, separated from his stand
From the boardroom where he went largely ignored
From the janitor who, when dusting his head each evening,
Would talk to him as if he was an old friend.
He survived the heat and fury of the fall
The hour when the carpet seemed to drop away
And all the city’s homing pigeons circled above him
Searching in vain for their customary landmarks.
He suffered only the loss of his stature
And the disfigurement of a fist
Still the team hauled him from the rubble
And set him aside where he could stand
In cold remove from man’s distress.
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