The Dust Catches Me

Swan Dive

 

The wind soothes my burns and cleans my lungs. It whips

my ears until I hear nothing but its flickering whisper.

Everything has its inevitable descent.

 

I will be sixty tomorrow, a few years from retirement.

My reflection flashes across the sixtieth floor.

Somehow I look naked. I’ve forgotten my brief case.

 

I panic at the thirty fourth floor. When I was thirty four,

my wife and I were married in Carroll Gardens. I was so nervous.

It seemed like a such a big step.

 

The twenty third floor is for my daughter, just starting grad school.

Our phone call was short. I still think of her as a child,

so all I could say was, “I love you. Don’t be afraid of the dark.”

 

Fifth floor. I remember my mother teaching me

that God created us from the dust. I stopped believing long ago,

but this morning I open my arms wide, and the dust catches me.

 

Javen Tanner (For the tenth anniversary of 9/11)

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