Aftermath [For Mary]


Why didn’t I think of it before?

The feeling that permeates everything, of opposition, of denser, stranger gravity, the way things fall down, fall apart, explode, implode, that didn’t before.

Dreams, love, plans, bonds. You know what I mean don’t you. Or do you?

That quality that creeps into everything sacred. You can’t protect anything anymore, against this alien dust.

I have been silently wordlessly mumbling for years: What is it? What is it? WHAT IS IT?

You’re different.

Aren’t you?

You can’t quite feel like you used to be able to. You want to, like you want to dance on your phantom amputated legs. But you can’t, because buildings have fallen on you.

Where before 9/11 you would have had a heart, you would have acted from the you that was you, not the shock and trauma that is not you, that is a disembodied other; You would have picked up the phone. Tried again, said you were sorry, thought about it, felt your own feelings and acted on them, maybe, or somehow–Since 9/11 you have been a brutalized dust person. You know you’re alive but you feel like a zombie. So you work for loss, slip it sustenance, rather than oppose it. You expect it on such a grander scale. You’ve witnessed it.

You survive, that’s all. What is your name? What are your values?

Everything dies easier now. Love, plans, futures, promises, lives, even plans for one hour from now, or the next few words you wanted to say. What was it you wanted to say? What was it you wanted with your life?

This is trauma.

This retreat from faith;

Memory. Other people and the fabric, warm and reassured in your hands, that the spirit would move, keep moving, through the threads of all our stories, like it used to, in the way that it used to.

And all the methods, schools, protocols of healing, exploding all around us in every square inch of the culture–what is all that? Why?

They never mention the fact that just getting through life without all this elaborate, focused, determined healing–is getting harder and harder. They don’t mention the collective wound, and we mistakenly still turn to our lesser ones, inflicted in childhood.

9/11 showed us why not to aspire.

It will be a long time coming, the genuine healing.

A long time before things simply happen they way they ought to between people, again.

I believe, because I have to, that love is alive, beneath this rubble.

We have to be better than this.

Do better. Between ourselves, in our interactions, the small ones, the daily ones.

Let us comfort one another as best we can.

As people did that day. All those people, who were really really scared and really really good.

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