The museum has a photograph
Of a pair of shoes from 9/11,
A pair of black high heel shoes
That are scuffed on the sides.
And seeing them
Brings me back
To that day,
Or how the rest of us tried to run.
And I remember the shoes of 9/11,
When I went back to Ground Zero,
Two weeks later,
The dust and the dogs,
Soldiers with their tanks,
And how I saw the shoes
Strewn like that across the roads
And sidewalks and how they were
Covered in a thick gray dust.
But the shoes in the photograph are together,
And I don’t remember any pairs.
I only remember one shoe,
Covered in thick, gray dust
And repeated over and over,
Alone and missing the other
Shoe, which was gone now.
Because shoes do not fall off in pairs
When you are running from a falling Tower,
And shoes do not drop off in pairs
When you are falling, falling
From the sky.
But I know that 9/11 is full of halves,
Half of a Tower still standing before
Half of a pelvic bone,
Large and flat, like half of a heart,
Half of my story,
My story of war.
And it was almost seven years after that day,
The night my husband came home from war,
And I waited until he was asleep,
Before I got out of bed and went
To our front door,
Where his combat boots stood,
Side by side,
And still covered in mud,
Caked in the mud of Afghanistan,
Or maybe Kuwait, where he slept
In a tent, got debriefed,
And returned his weapons,
Before they let him go.
And I am reaching down and touching them,
My husband’s boots from the war,
And the mud is falling off
Into my hands and onto the floor,
This floor, in our house, in America,
Where my husband is
Alive and asleep in our bed,
His body turning over now,
To face my side,
My half of the bed.