"New York's chief symbol." Not, in all honesty, to most,
No match for the Bridge, Ellis Island, or Liberty.
But place detachment beside a sense of mutilation
Inferno's aftermath would trigger six weeks later
When my night flight on American approached
Ground Zero. Spotlit, twenty-four/seven rubble clearance
Replaced twin peaks naiveté once took for granted
In the downtown spreadsheet printout of Manhattan's skyline.
Pilgrimage to the site required a mask to filter
Fumes that stank of burnt synthetics and calcium.
I choked up gazing at that iconic shard, a giant
Upended metal thumb-piano keyboard whose ragged
Elegy roaring earthmovers snuffed out as they
Processed remains of two thousand and more deceased.
Who won't be back. And yet, almost as though to highlight
Absence, TV movie reruns these past months
Have been reviving, in how many slots, an image
Both stricken and eternal: standard chopper panning
Shots of the postcard skyline thrusting at us, and, lo,
The stereophonic comeback Symbol, tall as life.