Meanwhile, the Angels Surround Him (In remembrance of 9-11)

In memory of 9-11, I decided to include a copy of a poem  I wrote in a creative writing class I was taking the fall semester of 2001. The assigment for that week was to pick up a newspaper and look at the pictures and let a picture inspire a poem. The North County Times that week had included an article on the rescuers who were in the process of digging for survivers in the rubble of Ground Zero. The picture they used was one of a firefighter, looking completely defeated, sitting down in the rubble with his head down almost between his knees. I wrote this poem entitled “Meanwhile, the Angels Surround Him.” I hope you like it.

I close my eyes and sit on broken plywood,

black smoke, cracked brick, rising dirt, shattered glass

and blood, some dried, some warm–

once two towers of strength and pride,

now a tomb

of unfinished dreams and unsaid goodbyes.

I’ve sifted through burned pictures

of your children, your husbands, and wives.

I can feel their tears mixing with my own.

I’ve choked on the dust and breathed in the darkness

that surrounds and envelops this black and blurry dream

If only I could dig faster

I’ve been searching for days

And have carried and held your friends, coworkers, neighbors

I’ve watched some live and some die.

But it’s you who make me weep–

only a couple more days before you’re gone too.

I can hear your voices

screaming for your saviors, in my head

My blood-stained hands, calloused and sore

wipe the sweat from my brow

and I pray to God to give us all strength


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