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Riding the F Train that August –

from Queens to Manhattan, Jamaica

Estates to Times Square – were all

of the hues and tongues and tribes and faiths.

Dead at our door, on our return,

wings stretched as if in flight,

lay a hen harrier, a female.

You chose to bury it gently

in the warm September earth.

Five thousand miles away, we watched

the towers fall. Later, building Babel

replaced the grace of humanity.

So many of the peoples of the earth

had gathered there. In the plaza’s fountain,

a bronze globe had turned perpetually. All

went to dust in a whirligig of fire.


Atlantic waves broke on the empty sand.

Undeterred by us, a beetle crossed the dunes.

Almost due south was Casablanca.

…in all the towns in all the world

We followed the war by satellite. Graven

effigies fell. Truths unfurled like smoke, like spume.

In the estuary – where ships from Tyre

and Ostia Antica had hoved to –

at low tide, small crabs emerged, waving.

in all the gin joints in all the towns…

Wretches, saved, like you and me!




© Copyright David Selzer

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