Saturday, September 11, 2010

Out of Oil

I measure every Grief I meet


I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.
I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil -


The rest was a bit too much for me, but Emily has hit a chord with me tonight. Today was the 9 year anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers of NYC. Instead of a fresh wound, as it was the first couple of years, the memory has now scarred. We can look at it without flinching. It's become filed into our habits, dealt into our daily hands. With each anniversary, instead of crying, we remember the things we saw on the day that it happened: where we stood, what we wore, how blue the sky.

Of course, international terrorism should put into perspective the catastrophes I might suffer in my own heart. But today it seems more obvious. No matter how large my own personal demolitions might feel, I won't remember the scarf I was wearing when it happened or the song that came on the radio while I cried.

When many people share a tragedy, it becomes a stone in their shared foundation of friendship, family or community. The attack on the twin towers brought our nation together in mourning and continues to this day to bring us all back into thoughtfulness and conversation about the events of that morning. But when just one heart is broken, the burden falls entirely on the heartbroken to remember the details of the tragedy.

The moment which has half-ruined me for today won't scar me for life. Just hinder me for awhile: smear my mascara, make chatty conversations in bars a little less fluid. The wounds should heal in relative short time. Until then- a smile like an imitation of light, low on oil. Or, perhaps, a flashlight with old, run-down batteries.

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