Back the Night Before


I yearn for the huge silver airliners to pull backwards

Out of the buildings they’ve slammed into,

for the knives to retreat from the flesh as if

they had never thought of entering,

that the blades return to their box-cutting,

with no move to the left or the right.

I plead with the explosions

to return back into their bombs,

their hand grenades, their mortar shells, back

into the airplanes filled with fuel for the long journey home.

I plead that the great expanses of rubble and broken stone rise

back up into the buildings they had been before the attack,

the roads back into being, leading again to the homes of loved ones.

I beseech the blood, the pieces of flesh, the eyes,

the guts, the skin, the organs of love-making

to float up from deep in the rubble and soil

and weave themselves back into the

living bodies of family and community.

I cry that we gain the determination to climb

back before the deathly events, back the night before,

the night of Sept. 10th, while the angry and oppressed talk outside,

people are talking and listening with each other inside over dinner –

how to live fairly with each other, how to live fairly with the planet,

how to bring those outside in – the next day the same people

climbing onto the same airliners,

flying successfully to their destinations, the balance of things

swinging back toward a fair center, minds flooding with visions

of a new century and millennium. I reach my hands up

toward the sky and plead

that cooling rain fall down, that a bright moon may rise

into the black sky, that all the stars are luminous against the

backdrop of utter darkness and that the families are all safe and

home again, that the only fires are in the fireplaces and in the stars.