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
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?
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.