I wrote this poem for “From Fear to Hope: Commemorating 9-11,” an interfaith event at the Dole Institute of Politics, where I read it this afternoon.
Ten Years Later
Ten years later, we share the same open heart
broken and confused, waiting and reaching
toward the kind of hope that trembles slightly
in the wind of old fear, yet unfolds its song.
The clear blue of that day still shines with
what can’t be replaced, who can’t find his way
home again, why anyone would shatter
so much alive and in motion. This anniversary
glows with the bravery of a woman who rushed
into the burning building to wheel someone out,
the photos on the fire station wall of the ones
who gave their lives, the bone-deep memory of
a police officer, first responder, rescue worker
who drove all night, all the ones up close
doing whatever they could and far away held together
in the sorrow that united us all.
Now the sky is just as blue, marred by contrails
of time in motion. The ground holds inexpliable loss
under layers of seasonal shift: snow long melted,
leaf fall swept away, flowers of one life turned
to sidewalks of another. The earth seems steady
under the new buildings New York, illuminated
benches in D.C., the people standing today
on the dented field in Pennslyvania —
landmarks or common places holding the sacred,
a rite of passage, a cave of grief, a moment breaking
our hearts open again in memory and nuance.
All of this telling us, remember to open
your life to all the courage you can and can’t imagine.
Remember to love bravely and completely.