“Why I Don’t Write Poems About 9/11” by Vicki Iorio

Vicki Iorio


Because I have privacy issues
Because Don DeLillo wrote Falling Man
Because of people
Because I have survivor’s guilt
Because my ex-husband’s new wife’s boss died in one of the towers
Because I felt a tinge of pleasure and wished it had been the new wife
Because of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close—what is there left to say?
Because my daughter was thirteen when the world spun out of her control
Because the night of that day we heard airplanes in the sky when there were no planes flying
Because my daughter would not leave her bedroom
Because she stopped going to school
Because I worked for the Department of Defense
Because we were herded into the black ops room
Because my Commander was crying
Because driving home on the parkway, the overhead message, Manhattan is Closed, came at me like a head on collision
Because of what it has become
Because of what I have become
Because my mother lived through Pearl Harbor
Because her brothers came home from that war old men
Because JFK was shot
Because Viet Nam was my TV dinner
Because ringing a bell and calling out names like a somber graduation doesn’t cut it
Because the Freedom Tower is America giving the bird to the birds
Because we all wear ribbons or tiny rhinestone flags
Because it’s OK to bless America
Because we all need a blessing
Because there were heroes that day
Because God wasn’t one of them
Because of the last phone calls
Because of the missing
Because on windy days I open my mouth and swallow smoke and ash

from Poets Respond
September 11, 2016


Vicki Iorio: “This Sunday is 9/11. I thought I never would write about the event, but I am giving a poetry reading this Sunday and I wanted to acknowledge the sadness.”

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