I wrote this poem in September of 2001, a few days after the towers fell. I still have vivid memories of Windows on the World, and of the morning of September 11 when I watched the horrific events unfold on my TV screen. I’ve flown a few times since then, but whenever I see a jet high in the sky above my garden in Rensselaer County, I remember 9-11 and ponder how fragile we are and how life can change in an instant.
In Memoriam: Windows on the World
I see myself alone, perched high above the city, sipping Chardonnay.
Scribbling in my journal, creating affirmations, visualizing incredible success.
My novel tops the Times Best Seller List.
Boundless abundance and bliss are mine.
An eternity of emptiness waits just beyond the window walls.
The sky is blazing blue. Helicopters buzz below me, fat bumble bee chariots ferrying the wealthy of Wall Street. I’d never ride in one –
too dangerous. But the jets are another story. They gleam above the water, across the harbor, floating heavenward as if by magic
as Lady Liberty waves her stony farewell.
I’m afraid of flying, so I focus on the destination.
A couple of quick drinks at the airport help enormously.
The waiter brings my second glass of wine and replenishes
my bowl of nuts. His attitude is cordial yet respectful,
and I feel totally pampered as I sink back in my plush velvet chair.
As the sun sinks over New Jersey, the handsome young pianist
at the baby grand begins a Gershwin tune.
Life hardly gets any better than this.
My husband doesn’t like to come here.
The empty sky unnerves him, and he doesn’t trust the building’s engineers.
So when I visit New York City, I sometimes make this solitary pilgrimage
To empower myself atop the World Trade Center, at the Windows on the World.
Twenty years have passed; catastrophe has struck.
I’m older, and the world is darker now.
Thousands of people died on that cloudless September morning,
too many to comprehend, much less to mourn. I may be selfish, but
it’s easier to mourn the towers, the dreams they stood for, and to grieve
the knowledge that I’ll never again ride the elevator to that amazing aerie in the sky.
I never did publish that novel, but I’ve got another one ready to go.
My dreams have come down to earth.
Now I nourish them at home, on the lake, in my garden.
Being grounded has its own rewards.