After 9/11 in the Small Town

The fat girl with black hair

bikes around the neighborhood wearing a death mask

her monstrous little blond side-

kick bears the same.

It's not halloween.

I dont know what they mean.

We lost a cousin we'll never know

among the towers

The brutal imagination of destruction

is a constant

No abstraction that my sister, friend, loved ones

by fortune, favor, grace, weren't there,

could-have-beens nightmare daydreams

My brother-in-law,

spends long hours away

from his babies, wife, his woodwork

in ever-smoldering ruins and endangering stench,

a cop who would not shoot

the natives

and here each day

all fall I clean apples

ripped and smashed in wasp swarmed piles

from my sidewalk,

cursed by small troops

of wild children

who occasionally ignite explosives in the street

shoot at my home, behead innocent sunflowers

as pundits opine of new understandings

here the light lessens,

no one cares to do more

than wave a flag

or don a mask

Akua Lezli Hope

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