Calling My Husband on Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Calling him but no answer on his cell.
He should have been at work, but wasn’t.
He had taken a different route,
dropped off my car at the mechanic,
gone in late,
had to take the train into Penn Station
instead of Brooklyn,
had to push into the subway
downtown, the A,
always too many people
at the World Trade Center stop--
he hated subways,
too many, in too small and hot and
claustrophobic a box lurching
underground— but then,
he didn’t like heights either.
What everyone remembers is
how blue the sky was.
How perfect the day --
But otherwise an ordinary Tuesday,
oh, a day to vote in the primaries,
still an everyday Tuesday,
except that I couldn’t reach him --
not on his cell, nor in his office.
A regular Tuesday,
except that I was in Long Island,
and on the television,
planes were hitting
the World Trade Center Towers.
I wanted to scream out my office window –-.
Later, that afternoon,
back home, his black suit,
(which he never wore again),
hung stiff with sweat and
grey with dust,
debris and fear.
He had made it to his downtown
Brooklyn law office just in time,
had the view clear to lower Manhattan,
and the Twin Towers.
That Tuesday morning,
amid the acrid smell of fuel
and plastic and -- everyone who could
was hurtling over the Brooklyn Bridge --
jamming into the last LIRR train
to leave the station -- he could barely
breathe –- nobody knew what was going on;
except, men like him were leaping off the Towers
-- into blue sky.
But he had come home, and others didn’t –-
other husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sisters, brothers,
cousins, friends, lovers, children— didn’t come home on that
everyday Tuesday in September, a primary day, a day of clear blue skies.
Every September 11 since I say a prayer for him at my side, and another prayer – from the pit of my heart, from the place where things don’t make sense, and never will, a prayer for all those ordinary men and women, who didn’t come home.
-- Caroline Bock, 2011