a little girl carried an umbrella
everyday to the school with the dust,
a hardhat found a restaurant menu
and an unopened package of children’s bibs

After fallen jumper cables,
cables, beams, jumpers, bodies
heat and fire, fallen
firefighters, police, hardhats,
lady’s hat with feathers

an orphan, a widow, and
for son and daughter
mother and father
the end of them
in dust, in vapor

A little girl carried an umbrella to school:
she is afraid —
her mother took her home from school
through a crowd of silent strangers,
no one knew what to say, but
she went to her room
to play with her dolls
her mother looking sad, staying silent
more than a moment of silence

and the bells ring
waterfalls collect tears

Will an umbrella work

hats, scarves, pearls, feathers
war is declared on a pearl


2 thoughts on “After

  1. I’m watching the memorial, right now…they should read this poem there. The image of the little girl with the umbrella is such a striking image, the silence, no one knowing what to say, so much sadness and loss.
    I’ll never forget that day, i remember it in such detail and i don’t even live in New York…

    1. Thanks. I heard on the radio a 16 year-old who at the time was 6 who described how she coped at that age. She begged her mother to buy her a little umbrella and she learned to read just so she could read the weather reports which she thought somehow would protect her. She carried an umbrella for 3 years after the incident. Someone else on the radio remembered finding the menu and the bibs.

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