Poem of the Week: Tuesday in New York City

Etta Schaeffer, Boca Raton, Florida

 

It was a beautiful September morning in The Big Apple
My son, my only child was at work.
He was in a building behind a church
and in the shadow of one of a pair of iconic skyscrapers.

 
Not yet nine o’clock in the morning
everything was quiet and normal,
then the first plane hit.
Everyone thought it was an accident.

 

Across the street and thirty stories high
the view was incomprehensible.
Seventy stories higher and across the street
people began to jump to escape.

 

He makes eye contact with a man falling toward the street below.
He is unable to speak or to move, frozen by what he is seeing.
A second plane attacks the other skyscraper.
He knows it’s time to get everyone out.

 

At ground level bodies litter the pavement like discarded rag dolls.
Stepping over them and around them is indescribable,
yet they do it, they get away stopping for nothing.
All they think about is surviving.

 

With time they will go on with life.
They know they will never forget
that beautiful Tuesday morning in
September in New York City.

 

Comments

  1. Thank you for bearing witness to that day of infamy through this powerful poem. My husband Al’s cousin Nicky was at a business meeting in the restaurant on the top floor of one of the towers when he received a call to return to his office immediately. A client had rescheduled and consequently he needed to depart asap. Nicky boarded the last subway out of that station five minutes before the first attack and thankfully his life was spared. Al’s elderly aunt and uncle were ordered to evacuate their flat in Manhattan because the glass, asbestos and metal particulates put them at considerable risk of lung infections. My nephew, Dave, a construction worker, was one of the first responders volunteering to sift through the rubble for any signs of life. To this day, he cannot erase the traumatic images of Ground Zero or fail to acknowledge the sacrifices of so many police, medics and firefighters who risked their lives to save others. He is one of the fortunate ones who has not experienced severe health repercussions from inhaling the toxic smoke and ash blanketing that hellish landscape.

  2. Janet Fagal says:

    This is a powerful story of that terrible terrible day. So tragic, such evil, such loss of innocence and so much pain. Riveting to bring us right there in that awful time. The brother of a former student of mine was up there, at the top. We still grieve his loss and all the rest of those souls, gone too soon. And it was such a beautiful day, at least for a while. The eye contact line is gut-wrenchingly sad.

  3. BARB WHITMARSH says:

    VERY POWERFUL POEM. I’M A NY’ER. ONE OF MY LATE BEST FRIENDS AND FORMER CPT IN FDNY LOST 35 OF HIS FORMER FELLOW WORKERS. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. THANK GOD POETS KEEP US AWARE OF THE MORNING THAT CHANGED THE USA.