September 11, 2001 / A poem by Samuel Hazo

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The hawk seems almost napping
in his glide.
His arcs are perfect
as geometry.
His eyes hunger
for something about to panic,
something small and unaware.
Higher by two thousand feet
an airbus vectors for its port,
its winglights aiming dead
ahead like eyesight.
The natural
and scheduled worlds keep happening
according to their rules...
"We interrupt
this program..."
Inch by inch
the interruption overrules both worlds,
engulfing us like dustfall
from a building in collapse.
The day
turns dark as an eclipse.
We head
for home as if to be assured
that home is where we left it.
• • •
Before both towers drowned
in their own dust, someone
downfloated from the hundredth floor.
Then there were others -- plunging,
stepping off or diving in tandem,
hand in hand, as if the sea
or nets awaited them.
"My God,
people are jumping!"
Of all
the thousands there, we saw
those few, just those, freefalling
through the sky like flotsam from a blaze ...
Nightmares of impact crushed us.
We slept like the doomed or drowned,
then woke to oratory, vigils,
valor, journalists declaring war
and, snapping from aerials or poles,
the furious clamor of flags.
– Samuel Hazo

Samuel Hazo is McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English emeritus at Duquesne University and director of the International Poetry Forum ( ). His most recent book is "Like a Man Gone Mad: Poems in a New Century."


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