September 11th produced strong emotions in all of us: shock, outrage, anguish, gloom and deep sorrow. Many poets and writers wrote about their reactions to the events of that morning. My poem, written shortly after 9/11, touches on the initial grief of those who lost loved ones in the four attacks.
SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER, 2001
(IN A NEW YORK MINUTE)
Scientists say we are dust,
fine debris from the distant stars
and we are free-falling in a world
composed of soot and sediment
from the dim past, far-flung
hand-me-downs of prehistory,
not the near distance of memory:
that meal last Monday with someone
you loved and thought would remain
beside you well past middle age,
or the solid sound of the front door closing
at the start of Tuesday’s morning commute.
What does the far and unreachable past
remember? What grace do giant stars know
before their cores collapse and burst?
Do they call out “I love you”
one last time? Or are there no words?
The past seems so silent now.
You recognize that the clock of your heart
did not stop midmorning Tuesday
but a thick dust, coarser than any pain,
now covers your once-certain landscape.
What happened elsewhere in the universe
is so far removed that it is of no consolation.
— Lenny Lianne © 2001
Let us acknowledge the heartbreak of those whose loved ones never returned home that day.