Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008
for Tom

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.


Tanya said...

I love this.

Emily said...

thanks, friend! i really did wake up singing "valentine" yesterday. it was weird!

Anonymous said...

hey hey..

I like this. I think that the sentence about not liking the songs, but being supportive is out of place in the third stanza. I heart heart heart your description of the moment, of how you heard about this major event but is still part of the mundane ness of life....

Emily said...

S - thanks for finally commenting! you're right about the third stanza...when i started writing it, i thought it would be more about the song.