A small plane, a prop, single engine, buzzed overhead this evening
While I was watering the garden in the heat before sunset
In this long summer drought. Smoke from the smoldering earth in the woods
Up by the quarries, drifted grey down our street in the breeze.
Another plane flew overhead once, in another September. That September with the clear blue skies
When Giuliani walked with a gas mask on, in the ash that ran down through the narrow streets.
He made himself the nation’s mayor as we rushed around him to help with the bodies.
In the evening, we walked past the black and purple Firehouse on Tenth street
And clapped our hands and some of us cried for the men and women
in their black boots who nodded back to us, and we all smelled the reek in their skin.
Soon then, on another blue day, we sat by the open window of a wine bar on Smith Street
Across the river from the copper-green statue holding a torch in the distance.
I drank a glass of Barolo, and she had a Chardonnay and the first three fighter jets flew lightning low
In close formation over the city. Why now, I thought, while we could still feel the greasy residue on our arms and in our noses and we thought about the incinerated bodies.
The Barolo was dry. And the next day I took the subway to work under the river with the copper-green statue to a tall building on 34th street near the post office and saw the troops,
Standing in twos and threes, in Penn station with their eyes fixed and their guns they held tight, muzzles pointed to the floor, fingers looped around triggers, and I looked away. We all did. Heads down, in the press of settling dread, afraid to look up.