Dennis Nurkse

Two Mornings


A man in a wheelchair   
is trapped at Cantor Fitzgerald
and a stranger stays
just to talk to him,

to stroke his cheek
and whisper can’t you hear
the shouts of rescuers
combing the lower stories?


A mother wraps two toothbrushes
in tinfoil and takes her child
to the DNA lab.

The technician is polite
and chats about the great winds,
will they dissipate the plume--

he offers a lollipop
and the child unwraps it
warily, examining the waiting room
through cellophane
and licked cherry scrim.

If there is an obstacle
and you look beyond it,
you glimpse the faces of the survivors--
their grief, which consoles them,
their happiness, which terrifies them,
their infinite fatigue.

The child tells the mother
hold my hand and the mother
answers you’re sticky.

The toothbrushes lie sealed
in a glassine envelope
marked with a post-it, crime site.

The child thinks,
that word is spelt wrong.

You may see them
but you’ll never touch them again.