Lower Manhattan, September, 2011
“[A] bird’s death leaves a hole in the sky.” Z. Herbert
My hairdresser tells me that when he heard
the rumbling, he forgot about his customer
and walked outside, scissors in hand in time
to see the first plane go in. He tells me
it looked like a cartoon explosion. I was
messed up for a while, he says, but not nearly
as messed up as friends who lived a block closer,
and saw people not just take off, but land.
I tell him that on that day, we tried
to give blood. But there was no need for blood.
On the radio this morning the Chinese dissident
Yang Maodong, released after five years, didn’t
want to discuss hatred or his years of torture.
And now, like banners or Rorschach tests, clouds
float past geometric buildings towards the one rising
beneath a crane, this version curved, feminine—
a message to the world that we mean no harm
copyright © Elizabeth J. Coleman 2013
Please note that this poem first appeared in Still Against War II: Poems for Marie Ponsot. New York: Jamie Stern and Nan Hall Lombardi, 2012