Friday, September 11, 2009

The Twins: September 2001

We came here to raise the dead. The rubber-coated
handle of that borrowed shovel flowing thickly
through his dust-encrusted hands. Between gloved fingers,
a nameless daughter now reduced to ash gray wind.
My father has volunteered to sort brick from bone,
skin from stone, undress the glass-crushed epidermis.
Over his scorched head, thread-like pillars of white smoke
stab blue sky, hushed prayers strike white against his mask.
Any deep breath is cause for alarm, toxic gases
fueled by exposed pipes, the odor of ghosts.
I know somewhere submerged beneath trampled wreckage,
friends who climbed falling stairs grow closer in the earth.
Again the carbon tempered blade of his shovel
strikes rock, sparks a quake that shivers from the mantle.
Eight hundred miles away, I’m digging up a dead rosebush
within the square-fenced yard of my safe Georgia home.
I turn the soil with a crooked spade, plowing
deeper than I should, expecting a hand to break
the distance, reach up from the dark and voice its name.

Copyright © 2009 Angel Zapata


  1. Everything about this piece is tremendous – brick from bone, skin from stone, the odor of ghosts…you’re prose is some of the best work out there. This is one that will stick with me.

  2. This is a stunning piece of prose. Every line perfection.

  3. You gave me goosebumps. This is a very strong piece; amazing.

  4. oh wow. i know so many of us are feeling and thinking about this. but these words are so poignant and moving. deftly done and thank you for bringing back so closely. we need to ALWAYS remember...

  5. Brilliant. Each line masterfully crafted. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. Brilliantly written and powerful.

  7. This is a dark piece. It's like sewing stitches in a wound. It hurts, but is necessary to heal and move on.

    A great tribute to those we remember this day.

  8. Oh wow... man, this hurts. It really revives the terror we all felt that tragic September day eight years ago... eight years!! and we all still feel the pain like it was yesterday.

    Well done, Mr. Zapata. These words will stay with me.


  9. Very heart-felt. I read the first half, up to "ghosts" as a poem - that was my first impression: based on it's rhythm, the sound of the words, the imagery, the intensity. It's a fine line between poem and prose, and a piece like this deserves to overlap a bit.