Image of shelter


Gallery, 116 Prince Street

So many strangers side by side, hushed,
searching the walls, the color photographs
pinned up in long rows, strung on wires
above our heads, all out of order.

Here a tall cloud of ruin approaches,
outrunning tiny figures in a narrow street,
there firemen pose in blue suspenders
before the sharded, smoking wasteland.

That one freezes the second plane banking,
dwarfed by the tower a few yards away,
and in this, these jets of dust in the gloom

must be the fatal pancaking. We who did not die
stare in silence, awed, thinking of the stairwells,
needing to live through it all again.

New York, November 2001

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