The Fall

Where were you when the twin towers fell?
I was in the kitchen.

Just as it happened we saw it on TV
Woven before us an ancient tapestry.

From the screen's edge like a headsman's axe a calm
winged shadow curved and disappeared
behind a huge tower of windows. A moment
elapsed before a giant peony
blossomed from the tower's side. In autumn.

Far below the people of the elected
city saw, and wondered. Then they ran.
A host of ordinary saints converged
to sacrifice at the tower's foot, its head
now wrapped in gorgon tendrils climbing,
choking, twisting a dreadful crown
about the inferno, hiding it from sight.

We saw hands waving in the morning sun
We saw the jumpings from abysmal heights,
guessed at the phone calls, stairways jammed
with patient slow visceral descent
of multitudes.

At last it gave. Stiff
and graceful the tower fell, crushing
brain, eye, lip and fingernail.
Some think they saw the shadow of a ghost
smile as it burned and curtsied into dust.

© David Collins September/October 2001