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.

Ode to September

The cicada’s sizzle-hum sings
all September, rising high
in rippling waves.
Ironweed’s melancholy plum
brightens alongside showy goldenrod.
Monarchs and swallowtails
flit between asters and milkweed
leaving a legacy of yellow-orange eggs.
Jerusalem artichokes reach heavenward
winking their bright black eyes
in afternoon slanted sunlight.
All the world’s gone to seed.
Sumac plumes darken to sienna
while pointed leaves wait
for the brilliant crimson burst
before frost arrives.
Blue sage bids farewell to summer
with azure glow at dusk.

All images found on Wikimedia Commons.

September Sunday

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As I arranged September flowers in purple vases
with the heavy sweet nectar of sunflower, marigold, cosmos
clinging to my hands
I marveled at the riotous beauty
of yellow, orange, magenta, lavender
gifts from the Creator
my privilege to enjoy.
And I thought
how I invited you again
but you didn’t show
and my welling tears
streaked hot with disappointment.
Do you not worship
even in autumn’s glory?
You and I, who shared
wordless understanding
better than anyone else—
now we do not share faith
and perhaps we never did.
When I speak of Him
you boil with rage.
We tried compromise:
shopping, sushi, cocktails
all on the surface.
But my deep ache persists underneath.
You refuse to envision
how I crawl into the lap of the unseen Abba
and find peace and security in his arms.
Jehovah-shammah never abandons.
Though we share soul caverns,
deep fissures and fault lines
crying out for restoration
our healing journeys will differ.
Still I fear for you going alone.
I see the thorny cares of your world:
your plush interiors
your bright beads and baubles
your cheap comfort
and I worry for your choked soul.
I wish you could know this:
You must stoop to see him.
If you seek the Truth
you will understand
He is far more gracious
than you can imagine.
I hope and pray
someday we will share
our heavenly Father.
Until then days of grief
mingle with moments of hope
like autumn’s chill
that frosts brilliant leaves.