9/11 the wraith between us

I came across this picture in the New York City Library.

It pulled me towards its absolute vulnerability
dumbfounded in the stillness of its grief

I waited like the seated man
till understanding might fill up the missing matter
of our spirits’ thinness unto immobility

I saw the artist came from Pakistan
Her theme was one of reconstruction, so the words beside it said.

She was a US citizen
and we stood beside the dead.

and consubstantial with a memory
no thought can erase
this wraith between us
stops and searches
every easy phrase.

Sarah de Nordwall 11th September 2011
10th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in NYC

The artist of the picture is Pakistani born Huma Bhabha, who made this image in response to her experience of unfinished foundations of buildings in her native Karachi.


  1. The wraith's blank stare, horrible in its lacking,
    in its tragic death of potential,
    and the non-realisation of might-have-beens.

    What terror and sadness, where the foundations lie
    exposed, memorials only aggravating
    the pain of what has not been.

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