The Weight of Deeds

by Warren Mortimer, edited by Rebecca Parkinson


I’ll tell you where I was on 9/11:

washed-up on the Great South Bay.

The ocean phlegmed back

famished wisps of tobacco,

like tarred seaweed.

The tin was absent

from my denim pocket.


Much later, I saw the towers faint,

bowing at the knees,

revived by television screens.

Heaving salt-water

from my stomach,

I lamented the loss

of my keys and wallet.


This place of yours, it resonates

with the New York suite

of childhood. A cityscape

of precedents: pre-teen, pre-terror.

I’d deride my mother’s name,

then wish her dead

for absolving me of cigarettes.


I turn to Kavanagh’s Epic;

To the fall of man,

from a sundered office in the heavens;

To the molars scattered on the concrete

like beads from an opal bracelet;

To the slug-trail of nerves

salivating from a cageless brain;

To the portrait viewed too often,

to allow revulsion.


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