11 September 2014

"Roll of Film: Photographer Missing"

Vines of smoke through latticework of steel
Weave the air into a garden of smoke.

And in the garden people came and went,
People of smoke and people of flesh, the air dressed

In ash. What the pictures couldn’t say
Was spoken by the smoke: A common language

In a tongue of smoke that murmured in every ear
Something about what it was they’d been forced

To endure: Words spoken in duress,
Inconsolable words, words spoken under the earth

That rooted in smoke and breathed in the smoke
And put forth shoots that twined through the steel,

Words plunged through the roof of the garages’
Voids, I-beams twisted; the eye that saw all this

Tells and tells again one part of the story
Of that day of wandering through the fatal garden,

The camera’s eye open and acutely
Recording in the foul-smelling air.

--From Tom Sleigh's "New York American Spell, 2001."

The Library of Congress now has an official landing page for resources related to Sept. 11 poetry.

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