Archive for September, 2009

Half Mast: 9/11/2001

Dear Reader,

Eight years ago the skies over my house went beautifully silent; only bird wings split the air. Eight years ago I brought a bag of snacks to Boulder Bonfils Blood  Center, combined them with grocery carts full of already donated juice, crackers, cookies, and bottled water. A line of whispery calm blood donors wound around the block. Eight years ago I raised my first American flag, phoned my love to my brother Steve, a WI fire fighter, paced with unhelpfulness.  My need to do something led me to start to write:

Half Mast


for fire, its appetite only paralleled by man

for men and women crushed by duty

for the lone shoe on the sidewalk

for evil and blind allegiance

for fatherless children waiting

for agony only known

in a flicker before death

Half mast

for casual goodbyes

for those never said

for “I love you” over a phone

for the millions who scream “no!”

for pink innocence turned to ash

for a vase of flowers left on a desk

for mothers stopped from bearing life

Half mast

for tears

for horror

for compassion

Half mast

for blood pulled from volunteers’ veins

for a stranger’s body another’s shield

for prayers unanswered

for twisted reason

for empty graves

for food on firefighters’ lips

for the badge on a dead officer’s chest

Half mast

for struggling pilots

for fighting passengers

for irony

for un-reached destinations

for fear crawling through sleep

for shovels, cranes, pails, hands

for souls deserving peace

for dying alone

for unheard hearts

Half mast

for dust

for steel

for cement

for flesh

for love

for black

for light

Half mast

for burning candles

for loved ones’ paper smiles

for corpses unidentified

Half mast

for a god

for a belief

Half mast

for surviving


(From Scarf Dancer, available at