After September 11th (Revised from “After”) (R7+ )

After September 11th (revised from “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

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

A little girl carries an umbrella to school
on a sunny day, every day —
she is afraid. Once

her mother had taken her home from school
through a crowd of silent strangers in a dust storm
and 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

— Douglas Gilbert