Sixteen Years & September 11

Stuart called to tell me the first plane hit when I had just risen with the startling sound of it flying low over my

Manhattan bed. I was buried in covers, content for the last time.

We were still on the phone when plane 2 blasted into the twin &

We knew what it meant.

No accident of navigation. It was a missile of hatred — full of our beloved.

We prayed for the city.

Then I ran to work on that antithetically beautiful day. I ran towards The Towers thinking I must show up for my duty — whatever that may be.

We all showed up. Our dogs were heroes. At every turn,

New Yorkers abating chaos, showed up with their own ragged agápē love & a miraculous organization of wit & unity &

It made me fall in love with each person in my city, every cop, every firefighter, every nurse & emergency responder. And yes, New Jersey became our best friend.

I passed an art store. The manager handed me a mask. It filtered the debris & for a while the dust of precious bones & stone & steel stopped choking me.

Many walked passed, covered in that dust — wearing underneath it uniforms of the free market. No longer so free.

Heads were lowered in sorrow, we tried to find a way home & loved ones lost.

Phones rang with “Are you safe?” across seas & continents. Thank you to each who called. I wrote the Queen.

Fires raged for three months. Black plumes replaced our Twin Towers compass.

We walked around without knowing where we were.

We didn’t laugh. We hid our tears behind dark glasses.

For many years, each beautiful fall day reminded us of that one.


© 2017 Anna Mosby Coleman