Window on the World
2001, I dropped the gear in Drive and launched out
On the road, no landfall planned before late August.
Those not tube-addicts will understand how, absent
A shaken call from a friend reporting the first strike,
One nauseated witness fewer would have seen, no,
Felt in his gut both deathbolts and the dual collapse.
Felt through the media—TV, Net, and, before
Blackout, cell phones. Somehow I got through to friends,
None of them missing but all choked by poison gas,
Paralyzed speechless with the inconceivable.
Because the dead disown inflated claims, I have to
Question several statements made about the towers:
"An architectural masterpiece." No, they were tall, some
High-rises elsewhere taller, and many better designed.
"The hub of U.S. geopolitics and trade."
No, few that worked there qualified as global players.
"Site of the first homeland attack since Independence."
No, see 1812, the Civil War, Pearl Harbor.
"The modern era's worst disaster." No, consider
Stalingrad, Dresden, Hiroshima, the Holocaust.
Alfred Corn's 10th book of poems, Tables, will be published this January. He spent the earlier part of this year as a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge, working on a new version of Rilke's Duino Elegies.
Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.To submit poetry to Slate, send up to five poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Robert Pinsky, Slate Magazine, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.