The American Way of Life

The American Way of Life

a global misunderstanding
how can anything so creepy wonderful
corny cool and Krunchie
be shrink-wrapped into
just one set of borders?

And yet – and yet
the planes go in, the firefighters
go charging up the stairs
that twenty thousand are pouring down
they step to the side
to let the two men carrying the old lady
in the wheelchair pass by –
their descent started on the eighty-somethingth floor –
and the great sheets of morning windows
crumple into themselves
dusting down into the aching gasp
making what someone saw to be
a stadium of sorrow
and the world, our one world,
stops a heartbeat, cries together.

we all breathe clouds of engineering
thinking ingenuity, it dusts us
from that morning, through the stricken
TV, cell phones call out from within the rubble
xeroxes are held up by the survivors,
photos of the lost ones
despairing eyes ask us about her:
she was working on the 49th, or he
was visiting today, up on the eighty-eighth

and somehow in the tons of dust and girders
there is also rain of tinsel and shuck
and we see how many people find
how many ways to help –
we all want to help dig into the new mountain
but we who can’t we send bottles of water and food
and we have one innocence dashed
only to have another given back to us:
yes, there are heroes, and they live next door.

And we are yes not other than the one
big family that we once knew we were,
in the sandbox, sledding, flying kites
jumping off high rocks into deep pools
teaching each other to knit, braiding hair,
laughing, laughing, rich, poor, cruel, kind
more here, more now, more everalways
everyhere, more this


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