We Tremble, The World Trades

IMG_0434 IMG_0429 Honoring the living and the dead of nine/eleven.

9/12/01 10:47am

Psalm Twenty-three or Where was God?

The Lord is my shepherd as a man holds a box cutter I shall not want and a woman phones her husband. He maketh me to lie down as a jet crashes in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the fiery gates of steel and the still waters. He restoreth my soul, as a priest administers the last rites He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness to a fireman. The die in each other’s arms for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk by two hundred and twenty crumbling stories through the valley of the shadow a cardinal sings of death. And a blue jay chases the red one away, I will fear, He is hungrier, no evil. He is bigger. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort as a cardinal sings on me. Water circles a pond as thou preparest a table where one hundred fish swim before me in the presence and this flowing creates the breath of my enemies. As fish breath under water and My cup runneth over. Once there were three, he annointeth my head with oil. Now there are one hundred. Surely goodness and mercy will follow, fish swim, fish breathe and a cardinal sings to me, all the days of my life. And I will dwell, now the thousands search in the house of the Lord for loved ones to say goodbye, I’ll miss you forever.

Julia W. Burns, MD


11/18/01 9:01pm

Crumbling Towers

Gray smoke and black hang in the air of our New City. I was walking in, towards my destination, the drug store. Strolling down her sidewalks, with my daughter. The flaming sun dazzled so on the crackling fall day that I thought the Director had made a mistake. Thought maybe he had forgiven and forgotten that Tuesday ever happened. The day our towers of wealth crumbled with our people wailing inside.

“Mommy, I wish I were a dog. If I were Pumpkin, I wouldn’t have to know about today. And tomorrow, I wouldn’t have to know about today again either.”

I wish I were a dog too, honey.

As we breathe in these black and gray ashes, dust falls away to dust now. And I wonder, as that next exhalation travels from my spirit into this darkened chasm, despair so thick we can palpate the edges stretching out between us. There is only that where there is nothing else. So in honoring it, I lift my hand in front of our faces, my IMG_0433daughter’s and mine, placing it’s shape forever in our minds. And she stands there, looking for me to interrupt our daze, to remember where I am, staring. Standing now with the clerk at the drugstore who is waiting for me to hand over the money and purchase these goods. Thus, I  buy these aspirin, dental floss and a blood red collar for a dog who waits quietly at home far away.

I will travel the distance and take off an old choke chain, clipping on a new collar, rejoicing that our dog will never know this suffering.

Or will I run from this anguish, crying in red, holding my head which is aching because it will never not know this moment. It will never not remember this day with it’s blacks, whites and grays around the edges.

Julia W. Burns, MD


9/12/01 11:04am

World Trades

Green leaves quiver in ether.

Green leaves: hold branches to trees.

Gray trees: carry roots to ground.

Golden decrescendo: yield phantasmal colors.

Reflections alter: green turns black, green turns yellow, green turns green once more.

Fading light declining trees: still these branches, deepen these roots.

We tremble: the world trades.

Julia W. Burns, MD



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