Paper, Smoke, and Ash


The huge band of black smoke broadens
Against an azure sky, how limitless grief.

No numbers yet number the dead, not ten—Or thirty
thousand, the still uncounted souls

Buried in a tangle of steel, a sea of glass, shoes,
Pens and ash. Whose papers——the pieces of lives——

Flutter in the wind, rising with acrid smells That feel
their blind way into our living room

The eye—stinging scent of death? Yesterday, The dark
grey of pigeons gliding on a cloud,

Glinted silver in my net. That grey repeats, color Of
death, blown by great hatred, Satan's breath.

    Sept. 11, 2001
    Alyssa A. Lappen