Cover Syndic No.18 “Remembering 9/11”
Syndic Literary Journal

“1 & 2” ∼ Page 9 ∼ by J.H. Johns & Paul Churchill Mann

Photo by Dariusz Pacak

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

I didn’t go
with an intent
other to look
and see and share
part of history.
But I saw them
against the fence,
using their sticks
to free, small pieces
of Tower debris.
I didn’t know
just right away,
they were picking
ghostly remains
of a tragedy.
I picked a piece
then two and three,
hiding from sight
partly torn bits
of their miseries.

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

You were in the bushes,
face down,
about three blocks
east of the site;
there you were covered,
by the low-growth evergreens
in that triangular swatch of park;
I turned you over and found
that you had not faded
or otherwise fallen apart;
you told me that you were
David Rimington,
of the Boomer Esiason Foundation;
your office
was on the 101st Floor
of One World Trade Center-
you even told me how to call you-
though, I was sure you wouldn’t be there;
I looked at you
and was amazed
that you had survived the cleanup
which had been so meticulous,
leaving the streets spotless
and free of debris;
it’s a wonder
they missed the park;
maybe they were
in too much of a hurry
to pull back the branches
where they would have found
you and your friends;
oh, yes,
you were not alone
in your sanctuary;
there were others;
an eight and a half by eleven photograph
of a black tie affair;
a page out of a desk calendar-
February 11th, I believe it was;
and a pair of women’s shoes;
no, you were not alone,
but only you had a name,
only you had a definite place,
to only you could I talk,
and wonder and ask,
where are you?

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

The days
were remarkably
an endlessly long summer
of sunny days,
walks on the beach
and the travails
of the City;
life was proceeding
in orderly disorder,
in a place that ran itself;
moments passed
and stretched seamlessly
into yesterday
before they flowed
smoothly into our memories;
repeatedly, until eight forty-five,
when the second before
was relegated to a nostalgic past,
while with the second after,
the future began…

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns)

We knew
none of them,
we knew
some of them-
we knew them all;
they were
men and women
and children;
the happy and the hapless,
the young and the old;
those who would’ve been there,
no matter what,
and others who were only there,
because of a quirky brand of luck;
fate and
routine and
the next of kin
of so many-
and the midwives
that we are born through…

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