Washougal Art & Music Festival

Wound: A poem for Sept. 11

Leanne Grabel's poem, written two days after the terrorist attacks, captures the trauma and grief.

|

9/13/01

I told my new therapist
who was concerned I was not feeling
the tremendous storms of grief, the
bolts of grief
the spate, the jolt
the coats of grief

I woke up early every morning
made a short stack of buckwheat pancakes for
the wolves of fear and sat an hour
flat against the hardbacked wooden chair
first cold then hot then cold
my legs folded under like paperclips.

I sat there staring at the pictures in the New York Times
with the surprising catchy headlines
all those pretty women with their messy ponytails
holding photos of their lovely men (now dust)
in their graceful pale-nailed hands like
flags of surrender.

            Cried I told her. Cry.
           Just cry and cry. 
            My knees are screaming for relief.
            I made immediate plans for yoga. 

My new therapist smiled warmly with her
ample, crooked mouth. Then she
adjusted her sagging stomach
and said she was glad that I’d been crying.
Next time I’m going to have to tell her
I've been crying this way for years

Sponsor

Seattle Opera Pagliacci

the tears
embedded in a sad and ancient code.
Still God, My God! 
This time we really did it
Etched the membrane
set the branding.

You see it on the faces of the children.
Four-year-olds like scarecrows
stiffened ankles sprouting out their little shoes.
The babies jerk at every movement.  
Even men are crying.
Have you seen how men are crying?

I told her I'd reached a point where
only seconds could I actually feel each day
or I might burn
and die like them
to dust to dust
by the horrible weight of it.
I told her I was feeling strong at first and
shouldered quite a bulk of it.
Then my tendons burned, my muscles screamed
my scalp grew tight. Oh

            Gandhi, can you hear me?
            Gandhi, can you hear me???

***

  • Portland poet Leanne Grabel wrote Wound on Sept. 13, 2001, two days after the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington., D.C. It is republished here, twenty years after the attacks, by permission.

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Leanne Grabel is considering going back to writing poems on the page; in other words, simplifying. Her latest performance (& chapbook & postcards & posters) was Old With Jokes performed at the Eastside Jewish Commons as part of ArtLab 2023. She is currently teaching flash memoir at Menucha Arts Center and Silverton Arts Center. She has books. Most recently, her collaboration with filmmaker Penny Allen This Rescue Thing (Penny wrote the novel, Leanne illustrated it) will be published by The Opiate Press in 2024. www.leannegrabel.com

SHARE:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CMNW Summer Festival SB FIXED #1, TP, Top
Seattle Opera Pagliacci
Profile Theatre Reggie Hoops
PAM 12 Month
OCCA Monthly
Astoria Open Studios Tour
NW Dance Project
Maryhill Museum of Art
Oregon Cultural Trust DEC 2023
Oregon ArtsWatch holder
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.