Stuyvesant High School, New York City, 2001
After the planes struck
I walked downstairs slowly,
one foot hitting
and one foot hitting
and the stairway shaking —
the stairway shaking
but not because a tower was falling,
and the tower not falling
because it could not fall,
and the stairway not shaking.
Brooklyn Technical High School, 2001
Always lost and late
we walked new hallways,
Techies blitzing us
with spitballs. Served us right
for wearing our old smiles and skin
as if we’d simply switched location.
Of course we understood
the world was over.
Strange, the way it all continued
even so. Stranger, how it’s gone on since.
Even now I dream of flames and falling,
over and over
until those dreams grow ordinary.
So my long panic comforts me.