I slept through those initial collisions,
the twin explosions
as steel and fuel met concrete and girder
for the final collpase
into rock and powder of two towers
meant as monuments
to the grandeur of their century.

I saw it from a safe distance--
not living through events
except for my own recall
or replays of video. I can still note those,
retrieve the day, but
the singular image I cannot shed, the one
that refuses to leave my head

is that of the people, the 200 left who,
facing the option
of burning alive, knowing at that moment
they were indeed dead,
chose instead, like Icarus,
to spread their arms
in almost-welcome embrace of

the quarter-mile journey back to earth.