Sister, Awake


Lost to a good playlist on my weekly drive across Michigan, I made good time to one of the offices I supported in Detroit. The only thing I thought odd was the increasing number of cars on the side of the highway (in Michigan, there was always at least a dozen cars broken down on the I-96/696/M-10 route I took from Grand Rapids to Detroit).

Still air covered the parking lot under a bright sky. I was in a good mood bounding up the stairs to work. When I opened the door, it was a somber chaos. This occasionally happened, so it wasn’t abnormal until I saw that someone had a small TV on their desk. A bunch of people stared at the screen without words or expression. When I asked what happened, the responses seemed like a joke. Someone did what? No, seriously, what’s going on? I finally looked at the TV that didn’t have any sound.

The second plane hit.

That night, I sat in a restaurant, alone and in a daze. The bartender served drinks to a row of people with their necks craned to see the replays. A waitress shook to hold back tears, anxiety, whatever we all felt to some degree.

Back in the hotel, I shut out the world and wrote these words.

the sky dissolved into chimeras
with sand from detonating eyes,
liquified steel,
vaporized bone
stole whispers
from searing lips

one last ‘I love you.’

hands held tight
melting together
before they let go.
before she lost.

Her hair glistened.
A contoured flame
put off by lack of food.

No breath. No skin.

she is gone.

Man on the street
thought of snow.
Burning, horrible snow.

She is gone.
sycophants parade;
news agencies come,
covet another TV tragedy.

She is gone.
declared war,
bombs to Anthrax,
and latex

But my sister is gone.