After 9/11 by Joan Roger


“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…” William Shakespeare

The digging went on for weeks, for months.
Tomorrow came and we grieved and raged
through that long winter. Our bodies became hungry,
so we ate toast and drank coffee; we showered
and washed our hair; we put on clean shirts,
slacks, shoes; we bought groceries, we slept,
we went to work, cold, tired, unmoored.
Wounds stopped weeping and scars formed.
And every day, babies were born. Children
went to school and played in the snow.
Mail was delivered and bills paid.
A day came when laugher was heard again,
and music. Lovers embraced in the night.
And even now, over twenty years later,
I don’t understand what any of it signifies—
the something of this day
turning to the next—
but when I think of the firefighters
who climbed those burning buildings,
when I remember the people who opened their doors
to shelter strangers and the rescuers who risked their lives
sifting through the smoking debris,
then I know that despite the slow stride
of the body, despite the darkness, the grave,
despite all that threatens and pulls us apart,
there’s something decent within us
that lives.