Otherwise (A 9-11 Poem)

It will never be as clear
as that black smoke
how much relief was born that day,
or in what form—
the beatings finally over,
the incurable sickness inoculated,
the dull shame of loving the wrong gender
forever buried
in the breakable steel.

You must believe that marriages
headed for ruin
were spared the public disgrace
and the private divisions—
the children blessed
to be left with nothing
to stand between them
and the happy lie of ignorance.

In addition to those who meant to kill,
there must have been a few
who survived safely on the other side of town
or in another state or country
who were inwardly pleased
to learn of a certain death—
a debt suddenly erased
or a secret vaporized
in the painless explosion of cells.

I like to think
that one of the named dead survived—
stumbled away—
the fathomable unfathomable event
having just provided an end
needed to begin again—
to step into the bright freedom
of anonymity
where it might be possible to experience
the longed for joy of unabusive love
and maybe bring into the world
at least one child who otherwise,
if the skies of that blue day
had been left undisturbed
would never have been born.


DeMaris Gaunt





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