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

and they realized their lives weren’t theirs to make or break 

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 for my own jaw to set

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.

One thought on “A Memorial ”

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