No surprises

This isn't a piece written in leisure at the sea. I've talked
so much about it, I don't think I've got a poem anymore, I think
I've lamented the sense of it away
grieved it down.

Now that they aren't there I realize the Towers were simply
straight forms: no charming contrasts, no stunning surprises.
After all, they weren't gothic churches, just two steel boxes that
dominated that space, becoming the most famous horizon
in the world.

Called the ugliest fiasco, defined as urbicide - yet everyone believed
the Trade Center to be a permanent part of New York.
This was new construction: supporting columns of steel
on the outer rim instead of in the core.
Cranes, shipped from Australia, hoisted materials
as the Towers rose.

Sidewalk shrines now line those streets.
Single and personal, the loss is repeated, frozen and transformed.
Photos on every wall prove they were there.

Another New York landmark, the United Nations building
constructed on a pile of debris
brought over from London
from the blitz
was to be a lasting reminder
of forces that brought nations to unite.
Clocks from Japan were exhibited there, this year
set at the very moment
the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Same time on each clock.

Will we be prisoners of our own memory
like Orpheus, looking back to reclaim the moments
remembering how it was
before we knew
what we know now.
--Rochelle Mass (Israel)