9/11 Tapestry

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That beautiful Tuesday morning

with skies perfectly blue and still

I listened to country radio

while getting dressed for college classes.

When the music ceased

CNN news overtook the broadcast.

A short bark

somewhere between a laugh and a yelp

escaped my throat

as I watched the plane

plow into the tower

with a smoke billow explosion.

When the second plane hit

the collapsing tower shed tiny figures

like a B-rate movie with Lego men

falling out of an earthquake-shaken

cardboard skyscraper.

I crammed my fists against my mouth

and paced, wondering

if any place was safe.

I drank the news

in the car

in the library newspapers

in the hallways

where the teachers set up televisions

since everything got cancelled.

But I found no satisfactory answers

to my quest:

Who wants to attack us?

What is the agenda?

Which city is next?

Why?

Why?

Why?

My fibers teacher said, “This is your JFK.

Weave this memory into your work.”

When class resumed on Thursday morning

I gathered roadside goldenrod for natural dye.

As I dipped wet wool strands in mordant

before walnut husks, elderberry, and black tea

my anxiety eased into beauty.

That September I wove creams and browns and berries

in rows of lacy stitches between dark teal bands.

The shuttle’s meditative rhythm soothed my fears

while I prayed for the families

and prayed for the firemen

and prayed for the policemen

and prayed for my country

and prayed for peace.

My tapestry held pieces of dreams

bits of prayers

threads of hope

just like everyone I knew held

in a new, frightening world.

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