Six Away from the Dead

11 Sep

Six away from the Dead

They were common as mud
And joined it,
Stories raining from the sky.
Feeding the Earth
Returned to air
Souls to rise
To drift as wraiths
Through dreams and lives
Omnipresent in a way
Only the dead can sustain.

One day we did not know them.
They were not our loved ones,
They were not our friends
But now
They are the colors of sunset,
Soot on a windowpane,
Ash mud on a lugged boot,
A cough in our lungs,
Threads of their flesh
Woven tightly into our
Communal inheritance,
The myths of a young country,
Repeated, repeated, repeated.

And we mourn them,
Not despite their commonness
But because of it.
Because it was New York,
It could have been Charlotte, Chicago, Philly.
Because it was D.C.,
It could have been Boston, Miami, L.A.
Because it was Shanksville,
It could have been Durham, Melbourne, Santa Fe.
Because it was them,
It could have been us
And we are made of the common,
We Americans,
And not one of us
More than six away
From the dead of that day.


Posted by on September 11, 2007 in Culture, History, Poetry


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Six Away from the Dead

  1. Sewa Yoleme

    September 11, 2007 at 1:14 PM

    One of my absolute favorites.

  2. Lisa

    September 15, 2007 at 2:29 AM

    in a way…the imagery here…so elemental and raw…helps me to wrap my head around the horror of that day of all days…it could’ve been us…one day it will be us…just without all the violence and media attention.

  3. Adam Byrn "Adamus" Tritt

    September 16, 2007 at 3:07 AM

    Lisa,I must admit this is not one of my favorites. But, then again, I must also admit I sometimes miss an aspect of my own work others often see. I use to find that hard to fathom. Tne I found it strange. Now I find it amusing.I had not seen in this poem what you described. However, as soon as I read your comment, I was able to see what you see in it and why this is a favorite among so many people. Now I see it.One day it will be us all. I knew that. But I didn’t see that. Or did not know I did.Thank you.


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