We walked all the way downtown,

past the church,

past the policeman’s frown,

’til we neared that cordoned-off,

hollow space, the ashes long

since blown away.


I read a sign that said closed for the day.

And if you wish to visit,

you’ll have to reserve

a space

to mourn your loss

and shed your tears;

a grief neglected

must be paid in arrears.


Now we walk around the edges

and peer

through the cracks, and hear

the low rumble

of subway tracks.


The protesters in Zuccotti Park

make a half-hearted cheer;

walking past the firehouse,

I shed 343 tears.


We stand at the memorial’s entrance,

and see the tops of a few trees.


I guess I had hoped

for more than these

hotel bars & blaring TV’s.


I know, I should have called ahead.


Still, I wish there was a place

to go and grieve at odd hours,

without a pass

or an appointment.


September 17, 2012