The Night the Planes Stopped Flying -9/11/01

September 9, 2011

their silver bodies glinting in the twilight . . . like shards of broken glass, wing-tip lights . . . flashing like towers on tall buildings

All summer I sat on the hilltop at sunset,

timothy and tall blades of meadow grass

waving in the evening breeze like a million flags,

the sky filled with contrails from flights

riding east coast air and heading home,

their silver bodies glinting in the twilight

like shards of broken glass, wing-tip lights

flashing like towers on tall buildings,

exhaust trails tinted with the blues

of light refracted from our fugitive star.

I would wonder about the people on board,

the pilots making their final checks before landing,

parents longing for families and home,

the passengers in first class hoping

they purchased immortality by sitting up front,

and I knew, wherever we were seated,

we could all see the beauty in the twilight sky.

But tonight is Indian summer, and maples glow

with autumn fire, the sky so clear

the mountains are silhouettes slashed from cardboard.

And all the grounded planes have been counted

as sunset fades to black and stars blink on,

pale and distant and lifeless,

cold light the only comfort they can give.