I'm wide awake and it's nearly 4:00 am. I've had a request to share more of my poetry and of course, I'm happy to oblige. I've read quite a bit of stuff online about 9/11 earlier this month so I've decided to share a poem that I wrote right after 9/11. I generally don't explain my poetry; I leave it to the reader to draw from the piece whatever she or he may. But I will give some context to this particular poem. Directly after 9/11, we all treated each other better; it was as if each of us tried to offer comfort to our neighbors, to strangers in the coffee shop, to anyone and everyone. In our grief and bewilderment, we reached out to each other. A few days passed and my sister's husband made an interesting observation about all this goodwill. He wondered how long it would last, how long before we returned to our old habits of indifference and self interest? His comment was the inspiration for my 9/11 poem. It's a little different.
There Be Monsters
The images on the screen kick you in the guts,
...smoke and ash…smoke and ash...
Smoke rises from the oil,
onions, peppers, a little garlic
a woman in her kitchen
her eyes on the clock
always on the clock.
On the flickering screen, horror and hate,
smoke and ash...
She grips the spoon,
absorbs herself in tomatoes and basil,
listens for the footsteps, the metal on metal of key and lock.
"Did you hear...have you seen...all those people..."
her voice falls into the silence of expectation.
"A shame," he tells her, "a damn shame."
His words match her horror,
together watching smoke and ash...smoke and ash
But there is too much salt or too little,
too much basil or not enough,
always too much or too little.
She surrenders to the horror of the fist in the face,
wraps herself in smoke and ash
knowing that the monsters are always under the bed.