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Thomas Drusch: Heroes of Ground Zero

From the COLLECTION: 20 years later, our readers share 9/11 memories series

Lovers rose to work in subways, buses ground down empty streets in early light.

Heading towards window office buildings shouldering high, tall as the sky.

I walk the glass buildings rising higher, one way street to heaven

Diamond skyscrapers whose windows gleam sunset wealth.

And gaze at my world, Manhattan — my buildings, my streets.

In the midcity canyons of Wall Street, the World Trade Center sits on New York Harbor waters.

An ageless monument. Tenderness flowing through the buildings.

Back there the noise of a great hum was heard in the apartments of New York.

Where people wake up electrified out of their sleep by airplanes roaring over the roof.

As the planes roar to a landing within the gray concrete.

A starry spangled shock of horror, the eternal war is here.

Jet planes at 1,400 miles per hour, they haven’t got a chance

They died in fiery offices, on carpets of heart failure, screaming and bargaining with destiny.

A lost battalion of corporate workers who vanished into nowhere, leaving a trail of tears.

The motionless buildings of New York came down roaring in a blaze of hot cars and garbage.

There is a god dying in America. Wives scream come home, you owe it to your boys.

Flooding the city with its hideous ecstasy, dust rolling over the pavement.

Rumor, gossip, police in uniform, walking silent sunk in thought.

Arab radicals want to eat us alive. Power mad. Want to take our cars out of our garages.

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq will rise and fall, but America will not fall.

No more propaganda for monsters. Terrorists build a lower class rage.

Crows shriek in the white sun over gravestones in Long Island.

Thomas Drusch, La Crosse


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