It’s Monday morning, September 11, and I am half awake. Punched the snooze bar for a solid 35 minutes this morning—a typical morning activity of mine that Danishgrrrl finds endlessly amusing—then finally crawled my ass out of bed and drove to work, thinking about what my bestgrrrl Lars said on 9/11: it’s a good thing that the terrorists didn’t realize that most New Yorkers don’t even make it into work before 10, because otherwise a whole lot of people who were waiting in line at Starbucks would have died too.
Thought about all those missing persons posters that covered the city too, and about the grandmother with pink rhinestone-studded sunglasses and a gold lame raincoat who died in the twin towers whose obituary Garrison Keillor described on the air.
And this all led to bad images of my little brother doing search and rescue in unbelievably hot, pitch-black blazing buildings where he crawls around on his hands and knees, searching for survivors.
There are so many awful ways that our lives could end, and so many awful ways that our country has ended Iraqi lives since the twin towers were attacked and I am feeling jaded and overwhelmed by the news right now.
All right. The poem:
FOR THE FALLING MAN
by Annie Farnsworth
from Bodies of Water, Bodies of Light
I see you again and again
tumbling out of the sky,
in your slate-grey suit and pressed white shirt.
At first I thought you were debris
from the explosion, maybe gray plaster wall
or fuselage but then I realized
that people were leaping.
I know who you are, I know
there's more to you than just this image
on the news, this ragdoll plummeting—
I know you were someone's lover, husband,
daddy. Last night you read stories
to your children, tucked them in, then curled into sleep
next to your wife. Perhaps there was small
sleepy talk of the future. Then,
before your morning coffee had cooled
you'd come to this; a choice between fire
How feeble these words, billowing
in this aftermath, how ineffectual
this utterance of sorrow. We can see plainly
it's hopeless, even as the words trail from our mouths
—but we can't help ourselves
how I wish
we could trade them for something
that could really have caught you.