After

AFTER

After,
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
pearls

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

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
after

Will an umbrella work
after

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

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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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