Brooklyn 9/12 by Sara Kandler

Brooklyn 9/12

We roam
our Brooklyn streets
neighbors huddling
all of us ghosts

chat softly with our young son
gaping construction site
fat pigeon circling

while tiny papery fragments
fall from the bright
September sky
settling on our forearms

We blow at them
and wonder
fibers of a love note?
pencil shards?
a fingernail?

No choice
but to inhale
these ashes
the nuclear fallout
we’d only imagined

Radio voices tell us
this is not a war
between East and West
but we feel it so
the clash of cultures
our sorrowful bequest

How can we stay close
in this tsunami of distress?

At night our toddler
drifts off to sleep
nothing to do but
curl around him
our backs arched into
a bony heart
a cage
a brace
a frame

Nothing to say
no words
no lexicon
no name
for this disaster
this massacre

Leila saïda
my husband whispers in Arabic
good night
kisses our son’s doughy forehead
the quiet metronome
of his breathing
so soothing

then movement below
something shifting
land forms drifting
leila saïda
a soft spoken promise
draws the dunes of Fire Island
toward those of El Jadida
to form a modern day Pangea

and we dream
of another radiant morning
the ground trembles
then surges skyward
tall towers of stone
this time arcing
bonding the continents
finally, we’re home


Sara Kandler is a passionate reader, writer and teacher of creative writing, journalism and memoir. A former journalist with an MS from Columbia University, she currently teaches English and French at the German International School of New York. Sara also has a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University, and has taught Literary Journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She has lived and taught in France, Morocco, and the United States. She now resides outside of New York City with her husband and three children.

6 thoughts on “Brooklyn 9/12 by Sara Kandler

  1. An exquisitely evocative poem dealing with the aftermath of that horrific day and the hope for the future – a modern day Pangea indeed. Painfully beautiful… So many wonderful lines here: “the nuclear fallout
    we’d only imagined” and “the clash of cultures our sorrowful bequest” Poet Sara Kandler gives us the gift of hope in this wonderful piece when she writes of “a soft spoken promise draw[ing] the dunes of Fire Island toward those of El Jadida.”

  2. I had to look up Pangea and I’m so glad I did because it pulled it all together for me (no pun intended). I love the thought of the bodies coming together to form a continent and it reminded me of that time and how supportive people were of one another. The movement and shifting brought us closer together. Thank you for sharing!

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