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'What Holds' - A Specially Commissioned Poem to Mark the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

What Holds

                                                                                                 Jessica Traynor

Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?

                                                                                                      - Father Mychal Judge

It’s September.

Life tilts towards equinox,

ushers us towards nightfall.

When girders fold like paper,

when glass evaporates,

and the road cracks its jaws,

whose hands still clasp?

What voice calling, faint,

through choking dust

finds the right ear?

When it gets dark,

consider what still holds –

the way gum loves a bus seat,

cat fur a funeral suit,

how rhizomes weave

blind webs to cradle earth.

Against what odds do atoms

conspire to keep us afloat

in a world where

the surfaces we trust

betray us again and again?

And against what odds

do we meet here,

with our thin skins

and fragile bones,

to ask each other this?


Commissioned by Consulate General of Ireland in New York in honour of Father Mychal Judge and all first responders, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11


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