September 11, 2008
I woke this morning not knowing why
I had one of your songs in my head, and not
a song I ever really liked. It wasn’t about me.
I walked my dog this clear, chilly morning
singing to myself. I could have been
your Valentine, now I’m just a tale to tell.
I was almost your wife. I didn’t like
your songs, but I tried to be supportive.
I remember waking seven years ago,
today, to your panicked voice on the phone.
Turn on the radio (we didn’t own a television),
turn on the radio, something’s happened.
I sat alone on your scratchy plaid couch
in the wood-paneled apartment above
the pizza shop, and I listened to true fear
in the voices of the reporters, shock,
and something more like excitement than sorrow;
it was the biggest day of their lives, the type of thing
they’d been trained for. I was not prepared
when I finally saw the footage that night
subtitled above the bar. I walked outside
into the dark, let the wind blow through me.
You followed me, and held me, and even though
I knew I didn’t love you, I clung to whatever it was
you offered me, a man’s arms, a promise
of stability, a shared place in the world, shelter
from the wind and the debris.