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!