A Memorial 

The Aftermath of New York: A Simple Poem


(Thought of at the National September Eleventh Memorial, 6/11/17)

I was asleep in my cradle

safe, sound, untouched

miles and miles away from a newly acquired knife in a nation’s heart

when I should have been wide awake

should have let the fear strike me and leave its battle wounds

as it set into the jaws of millions

when the gasoline gushed into the office space

illuminating a man’s face

with sunken eyes on the 101st floor

asking, “Where is God when I have to jump?”

and I know he thought

how he wished he could grow wings

like the jet planes that landed at his feet

like he was living a little boy’s dream

but he didn’t wake up before it turned into a nightmare

and how he wished he could land without feeling any pain

but sometimes the world doesn’t work that way

so he tipped himself over the edge

hoping someone would catch his last words

with a prayer to his family

before he fell




and shattered in a sea of red and rubble

making a fireman’s stomach churn

and President Washington turn over in his grave

so now I stand

where thousands had wished to brush off their shoulders and walk away

or maybe even go back up to save the day

and I watch a leaf fall




silently to the water

and a passerby flip in a coin

because it’s easier than offering a shoulder to cry on

but I’m old enough now to understand

the wrath of an unforgiving world

and I don’t have the heart to scream out that gold doesn’t dry tears

nor does it wash away a sea of red

or dab up spilled gasoline

or mend the beams of the 101st floor

or give a desperate man his very own wings

because where is God when we have to jump?


Author: Lannah Mary

An overly-friendly environmental activist, singer, and self-taught writer.

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