Waking Confused from Sleep on a 9/11 Flight, Pamela O’Shaughnessy

Tracks Tracks, Z.Z. Wei



Waking Confused from Sleep on a 9/11 Flight

…that expressionless
Face with its heavy eyelids.
                                                                   —Robt. Lowell, The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket


I am whispering with my girlfriend in an ave of marias.
She says at times like this my trust in you

into childlike dependence.
I remind her that we have not come to Chartres to stand
under heavy glass. Adamant on this point as a rose window

on our umbrella. Screams of field-trip babies.
We are driving toward Paris in a chartreuse Citroën,
guttural hitchhikers fighting in the back seat. I am pregnant,
my girlfriend says quietly. I can barely hear.
A cloud-arrow floats toward

Short sky, low muttering.
Mein Herz, mein Herz ist traurig. The jiggling

watched by captured bodies, necks falling forward
 so we go speechless
in our language. They make me pull over and lie
 looking at a bald horizon of concrete trees.
We’re supposed to live on, stars. I

among the cell phone numbers.
Nothing to fear except this moment and a few more;
when I see the building

approach like an upended hindenberg
I begin to remember young days at Tahoe. Astounded I remember too
that my girlfriend carries a fertilized egg which will now

back into the mouth of the lady of birth. Look
at that skybreaker. Why
has that loomer aimed itself at us? It was snowing
at Tahoe, warm inside the cabin, woodfire steady,
my calm maria full of grace
holding my hand now and at the hour,
tray tables

Pamela O’Shaughnessy



Review by William Fairbrother

Memory not a string theory but a high-wire theory, with not two, but four dots.



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