Sunday, September 10, 2006


Before the Next Day

J.B. Rowell

The decision was made to carry on with the day like nothing
happened—let the parents tell their children in their own way.

When the second tower fell live
each hair on my arms rose up.
The classroom empty except
two teachers sitting side by side
in small, hard chairs
made for third grade bodies
now at gym class:
shoes squeaking
on glossy, wood floor.
Their reality the textured, red ball
hitting too hard,
while other children were losing
moms and dads.

The fluorescent lights off,
and the light
of the telecasted catastrophe
flickered off
the other teacher’s eyes
as we looked at each other:
What do we tell them?
How do we explain?
Why does math matter now?

Walking along the sidewalk
toward the gym,
an airplane flew low
in the too blue September sky.
An idea once ludicrous,
now possible,
brought fear here
as our students ran toward us
scrambling to be first in line

I want to keep them from the news,
keep them from becoming
who they will be tomorrow.
Don’t ever want to see them draw
what I just saw.

Don’t go home don’t
go home tonight.


Blogger Pat Paulk said...

The world certainly changed that day. That smoke that can never be erased from that "September Sky". Very well written Julia!!

6:51 PM, September 10, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Pat! The world did change, and the children changed.

7:42 PM, September 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great poem! You should sumbit this to something.

- Jake

(sorry I can't comment with my name - blogger beta users cannot post on regular blogger blogs)

7:53 PM, September 10, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Jake! This is an old poem I wrote at my previous school just after 9/11. I have submitted it to many somethings. But that's ok. I'm glad you like it.

8:21 PM, September 10, 2006  
Blogger burning moon said...

great poem Julia! I guess maybe editors are a bit overwhelmed with poems on this topic but yours is certainly of publishable standard.

Thanks for the read.


4:55 PM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Coming from YOU moon, that's a HUGE compliment. Thanks for reading!

5:47 PM, September 13, 2006  

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