Erasure from, and from,

Two missiles fired at our hujra

we didn’t hear the missile and then it was there
when I gained consciousness,
there was a bandage on my eye.
I didn’t know what happened
I could only see from one.

When you start to think about the numbers
it doesn’t seem possible I’m alive.

When we got hit
my father’s body was scattered.

I am not able to walk anymore.

I felt the walls next to me crack and buckle on top of me.
Someone surfed the collapse and lived.

All I remember is a blast,
and I saw fire
before I lost consciousness.
The driver and I lost our legs.

You’re alive. What bad days do you have?
Everyone else feels like 9/11 was a long time ago.
I still feel like we are stuck on September 12, not really able to move beyond it.

There were lots of drones wandering over that day.
They were wandering all over.

No one realizes about the wind.

I felt something in my heart.
I was drinking tea when I found out.
You feel like throwing everything away,
because you feel death—

the body was put into a box.
I took it to my village.
At the time of Fajr, I took it to my home.

It was a combination
of me running
and getting blown down.

Every time they are in the air,
they can be heard.

We did not know that America existed.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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20 Responses to Catastrophe

  1. Erasure to my mind is such a useful tool for writing about tragedy. Here we hear the words of the people experiencing the terror and not a description, or artistic interpretation. This is very well done.

  2. Wow, this is truly intense. You’re words bring a painfully vivid image to the reader. Made my breathing quicken for a minute there

  3. kkkkaty1 says:

    Empathetic write…you became that person for awhile 😉

  4. claudia says:

    oh heck…this moved me deeply…awesome last line and also the part with the wind in the middle

  5. This is a viewpoint that needs to be understood…
    I got a little inspired by your story.

    The civilian victims
    are just collateral damage
    almost like Orwell said
    the language overruled
    so embedded newsreporters
    can report of victory
    and we can still enjoy
    sunday breakfast comfort
    listening to newsreports
    and we can claim
    we didn’t know

    I really loved your writing here Susan.

  6. Intense and powerful

  7. aka_andrea says:

    so powerful! the striking reality of lines like,
    ‘I could only see from one.’
    ‘I am not able to walk anymore.’
    ‘because you feel death—’
    you really walked around in this one. so well written.

  8. Alice Keys says:

    Thanks Susan. You’re taking poetry into the realm of social activism again. Good work on this one. Alice
    PS “Someone surfed the collapse and lived”. This is a line I heard early on in NPR’s reporting of the 9/11 attack. I could never find another person who recalled hearing this and it wasn’t repeated. This was one of the pieces that helped make my decision to stop listening to the radio. I’d already stopped television at that point. It was a profound piece of absurdity. No one could “surf the debris” and live. Thanks for repeating this here. It means a lot to me, personally.

    • Alice, thank you. I took the erasure from quotes from both 9/11 survivors and survivors of drone attacks. Wow. Cannot believe you remembered that so clearly.

  9. nelle says:

    Very creative work… you are a true artist.

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