ash tuesday

         a truncated sestina

cleansed at last of burial ash 
you return to tell of angels falling from the sky
the fire where you lost yourself as day turned to night
in brittle madness
streets brushed with unspeakable dust clouds   embers
burning the city silent 

how your subway car suddenly shuddered silent
the ground above heaving as towers fell to ash.
trapped below, none of you knew. only embers
of wild confusion igniting distrust.    even there, with no sky
you tasted the coming madness
humanity’s dark night.

you helped a pregnant woman to the street like night
joined the tide of muffled footsteps, silent
exodus across the bridge    toward what? this madness
knows no borders.   eyes burning with tears and ash
you walked blind   9am daylight wiped clean from the sky
dawn of a new era hissing like embers.

back turned on a vision once sought, embers
of love swath the night 
like neon in the sky 
rain down in silent
questions: what was true, what was ash.

         on the third anniversary of 9/11

• • • •

To be published in Anti-Heroin Chic, February 2021
Photo by Jeffrey Blum on Unsplash