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Rated: E · Poetry · Emotional · #2091396
Courage rising from the ashes of depravity
The Phoenix

Kathleen McNamara

The Phoenix has risen from the ashes
strong, gleaming, defiant
now a guardian of its’ past
a beacon for the future

Water gently falling like a river of tears
into a bottomless pit of sorrow
visitors touch the burnished metal
to try to connect with the memory of the engraved name
a lone tree, supported by lovingly placed anchors,
stands testament to the fragile tenacity of life

But the most precious memories lie below the street
steel-rimmed glass doors and omnipresent security grant access
to the remnants of a once proud past
A concrete wall
a feat of brilliant engineering to hold back the Hudson still intact
polished marble floors
lead past the remnants of the steel façade of the Twins
mangled steel beams
attest to fire, destruction and gravity

The walls of these hallowed halls are covered
with those terrible pictures and descriptions and interviews
a powerful and reverential atmosphere prevails
while long-buried sorrow and rage battle within my soul
three separate encounters rend my heart

Recording after recording of unanswered, plaintive phone calls
desperation clearly heard in each voice

Anguished witness accounts of the final, agonizing choice of death
testimony to the calmness and dignity in that terrible decision

But in the end, it was the pictures of the shoes…
Empty shoes, scattered on the sidewalks below the offices in the sky
the stunned faces of the onlookers on the street
the fear, horror and unasked questions on their faces

We all knew but did not want to know
our minds unable to fathom the depravity
our hearts now joined in agony
but like the Phoenix of glass and steel
we too guard this past
we will remember for the future.
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