Each year on September 11 I read the poem written by my former classmate Mike O’Neil on the first anniversary of that awful day.
I think of those innocents on the high towers
who, rather than waiting to be choked to death
by the moiling acrid smoke or burned by the
terrible approaching fires, chose to implement
their own deaths—and jumped.
And of those many, I think most strongly
of the couple who fell
clutching each other in an inseparable embrace
to the last.
My Manhattan son, Dan, saw all this
and cried, as we all did. Damn damn damn!
This morning, on the anniversary—if one
can use that word
He took two perfect long stemmed roses to work
opened his midtown window
and let the petals fly away in
Manhattan’s strong morning wind.
He thought on this for a time
and then began to work, as the migraine imposed itself.
J. Michael O’Neil
Sept. 11, 2002