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I almost don’t have it in me to write a 9/11 poem. At school today we did a moment of reflection and poetry, and it was hard. Many of our students were toddlers then, so the War on Terror became their boogieman, and a shadow in the dark. I’m going to try. I don’t know if a day of remembrance is meant to be poemed at all, but I’ll try.

A Poem After the Fall

They don’t remember where they were on this day we ask them to remember, because they were babes then. Each of us adults has a story to tell on about where we were on that day, but they do not. They grew up hearing the muddled talk gurgling in the background, pale voices in the way of dinner, talk of roadside bombs and limbs and bodies, talk thickened with spittle and badges, lilting talk, mean talk, and talk so distracting it deserved medication. These ones, these newly-hatched, they know conflict only, and so we treat their fear with money, and hide them from the news when it should be taught, that each explosion is a great multiplier of sadness, and each rocket compounds the ice inside veins, and that maybe the only, the one and onliest only is survival.

Ask them to remember and they will bow their heads, but the nod has no image to revere, it has no newscaster on the TV at ten in the morning montana central time, it has no roommate to wake it up, to say, you have to look, now, look, now. It has no family to call on the coast, no professor to call who used to work at the state department, that nod, cast upon them, these larvae in their nascent grief, it has nothing but fear left now, cast down upon fashionable sneakers.

Ask them to remember and they will. They will remember some kind of terror. And then they will ask why.


Okay. I wrote an 9/11 poem. Goodnight, poem people. Happy Thursday