Monday, January 14, 2008

9:25 AM, 101st Floor

Though perched above the fires
that roil and send up acrid clouds
for now my view is clear

Before me untouched majesty
stretched out across a whitecapped sea
too far to be so near

Around me: screams and sobs and cries
and panicked prayers and futile rage
of those about to die

Heat must rise, and so it brings
in waves upon a fiery tide
an anguished tear to eye

Confronting my oblivion
yet still with choice and still with will
for minutes or for hours

Before me on my office desk
the icons of a life soon gone
to rubble with the towers

A picture frame of summer scenes
a beach with children, smiling wife
my shattered conscience learns

That all such things are treasures
for beyond the frame and through the glass
the second tower burns

Machines have failed, there is no way
to reach out from this flaming tomb
and touch those fleeting lives

Yet still I live, in mockery
powerless to save the life
from which my will derives

And so, again, that single choice
the choice to burn or fall and die
sum total of my years

I stand as I unknot my tie
then fold it, lay it on my desk
damp from unchecked tears

And walk to where the window gapes
where others, early pioneers
have given will their voice

And face against the endless wind
eyes closed, mouth dry and clenching fists
I make my final choice

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