How do I explain the rupture
between Then and Now.
When no Safe was Unsafe
and a September morning wasn’t filled with
Cremains and loose paper,
when only Bird Wings fluttered in the blue sky.
How do I tell you of the Fear and Grief,
Personal and Communal,
of people spirited away in dust falling from the sky
mixing with Tears that streaked on all our faces.
I wish I could explain how
our Country’s shifted Foundation
was filled with that Ash and then with desert Sand.
How we were all struck mute
as Doves became hawkish
and Hawks became harsh Patriots.
We all averted our eyes and covered our ears
as Rendition and Enhanced Interrogation
and Warrantless Wiretaps
were wrapped in Patriotic bunting.
I wish I could understand how the new normal
is now just NORMAL –
the shoeless shuffle in airports,
the suspicion of brown skin,
the lilting accents that are now ominous.
And how that September morning,
‘The War against Terror’-
(And it was our TERROR)
is now just another chapter
in high school History books,
dry as Ash and hot desert Sand.
*** A reposting from several years ago. 9/11 still brings me to tears.
Great gray stones leave the bank of the river,
stacked with their brethren
between the old cedar trees.
One upon one,
they stand together, shoulder
in deep, masculine force.
Over decades, they settle.
Some, restless, move again
toward the river.
Most hold fast, remembering
Until, one morning
after the first spring storm of April,
in Springs push
the old stone wall shudders,
and with a deep sigh,
*** We went out after the last storm and our old rock wall had fallen. The chipmunks had loosened the soil, giving the rain a place to wash out behind the stones. And it just gave way.
We will restack and make it whole again, but who knows how long ago those stones had been carted up from the river and stacked with their brethren.