I stood at that place
ground zero they said.
A ground grounded with shadows,
shock, silence and much more
pasted on memory’s lips.
The space called me
the letters asked for my caress.
There are a thousand names engraved
and my palm touched one –
looked Indian. Don’t know what
he wanted to tell me,
what he wanted to convey across the seven seas;
what unspent words he wanted me
to take back to his mute home.
Who knows, whose spare eye
or limb or even tightly tied bun
lies embedded invisible in the dust;
who knows, whose hungry hand
was stretching towards a sandwich
to lift to an open mouth
before settling down to work.
The lips of memory shake
with invisible words in that half written mail.
Smoked out thoughts move around the ground –
‘I must pick my daughter from school at four
and buy Mom’s cough drops’;
‘I must check with the hair-dresser
and heat my old Dad’s favourite desert
that I cooked last night with care’
The names engraved in thousands
implored me to see
if the towers could stop shaking and
why was there a storm in clear skies!
They were good people
and had folks back home.
They would gather their hands and legs
and put them back in place. They would
like to pick up their own eyes
and return them to their empty holes
they would like to go home for dinner
and see the colours of fall.
The ground was grounded.
startled eyes and open lips;
lidless dreams and unsettled scores;
unkept promises and much more
all lay silenced.
The sky darkened with sighs
and Hudson flooded with emotion.
I stood grounded
with my head bent at that place.
Ground zero they said.
Tribute in Light – Ground Zero memorial – Wikimedia Public Domain
Guest Author Bio
Dr Shruti Das
Dr Shruti Das is Associate professor English in the P.G. Department of English, Berhampur University in Odisha, India. She is a creative writer with poetry published Nationally and Internationally and also a literary critic, writing bilingually in English and her native tongue Odia. She has participated in many National and International Seminars on English language literature and Communication skills in India and abroad. As well, she has published a collection of poems named “A Daughter Speaks” and has been published in Anthologies like “Inspired Heart 2″ and “Scaling Heights”. She is sensitive to social issues, loves to travel and to dream. She loves animals.
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