September 11, 2001
by William F Dougherty
I slouch into my class, bowed by the brute,
apocalyptic shock. No student's eyes
forsake the glowing screen; the sound is mute:
their center, the assigned poem forewarns, flies
apart—soundless tsunami of white soot
boils down the streets a surreal toppled sky,
makes discussion of “Second Coming” moot;
flattens a globe to the planisphere, why.
Students stir, but no one leaves. No one speaks.
I postpone pretending I understand
"indignant desert birds" -–abruptly weak
words on Yeats’s beast slouching across sand.
I chew my lip and mumble class dismissed;
follow them out, my pockets crammed with fist.
[Original version published in Poems: New & Used, 2004.
Revised August, 2012.]
Posted on 08/28/2012
Copyright © 2020 William F Dougherty