Words to remember Sept. 11

My Clear Blue Morning


i. Holy Water

The black snake wraps around me, 

but his head stands erect opposite mine. 

He stares, knows that whatever I do won’t

matter; I’ll die from his grip anyway.

When they gather us in for quick dispatch, 

I escape and walk through the dark valley

to those who didn’t know they were to die.

I dip my finger in holy water

from the flask I carry on my hip bone,

touch each one on their lips, their limbs, 

make them whole again, place them back 

where they were before he pulled tight. 

ii. Haiku for Firefighters

When everyone runs

down they run up. We knew that.

Didn’t we know that?

iii. Portraits of Grief

I’m hoping that if I read these paragraphs

then I could add them back into the book 

of life the way God apparently does on holy 

days when he sits on his throne with all our 

lives in blurbs before him and with one deep 

breath he exhales and pushes us all to a 

new page. And you’d think it’s enough —

it’s not my grief, it’s their families and friends.

I’m someone looking in from a far off place.

I have no right to feel this way. But I do.

It’s my city and my towers. And that morning 

was my clear, blue morning. 

iv. Driving North on 95 at Night

We see them off to the right, blue light. 

The light makes me think of memorials 

we’ve just seen — Lincoln on his white throne, 

Jefferson in black watching the Potomac, 

cherry blossoms opening. I want the light 

to pass through me once so that my heart opens 

again. My children watch the towers fade 

into the sky line. “Why do they disappear 

as we move closer?” my son asks. I say, 

“Sometimes you have to be far away from 

an object to see it clearer.” He says 

“Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

v. One Year Later

The sky is almost as blue

but so windy like fire 

through the dry house.

My friend Esther says 

spirits visit on anniversaries.

If you’re quiet you can hear 

a door shut, a tea cup rattle.

My children watch the moon come up. 

Silver sliver, wide backward “C”.

We think of words that could hang high:

Camel, Care, Cream, Cautious. 

Words to remember Sept. 11, Sarah Stern