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Six Away from the Dead

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.

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

 

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