September 7, 2001; To Ottla on the Subject of Our Ablation

Carol Ann Davis

September 7, 2001

By then what had we already
given away? What was still ours?
Be realistic—at this hour ten years ago
you were still alive, but barely:
when you couldn’t speak
I touched your toes
and maybe you dreamed
my hands were made of fire. I was lucky—
all those “last” conversations,
crosswords we filled with your answers,
the hospital tuck, Borneo, the short word
for supine. And you were dead
before the world began its pale turning,
the black ops, drones by starlight,
caves meant for hiding. Yesterday
I saw a man holding straw flowers
in the median of the road—
in him something had been made
to spin. I could see it—
the world a bowl and him the water,
the increments we take
changing from mass into air.
Then I was bending—
I was the petal, I was the road,
the man’s hand that held the coin
held me. When I’m blind to everything,
I can no longer hear you,
but anyway, you’d tell me
that’s all right. Four days after you died
the towers fell, it took thirty minutes,
ash no longer a metaphor
but real. Every sacred circle
a thing made to disappear, a thing
made lovely in its disappearing. Perhaps
this is something you taught me
with that light touch of yours.

To Ottla on the Subject of Our Ablation

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