American Life in Poetry: Column 283

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I’ve read dozens of poems written about the events of September 11, 2001, but this one by Tony Gloeggler of New York City is the only one I’ve seen that addresses the good fortune of a survivor.

Five Years Later

My brother was on his way
to a dental appointment
when the second plane hit
four stories below the office
where he worked. He’s never
said anything about the guy
who took football bets, how
he liked to watch his secretary
walk, the friends he ate lunch with,
all the funerals. Maybe, shamed
by his luck, he keeps quiet,
afraid someone might guess
how good he feels, breathing.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Tony Gloeggler, whose most recent book of poetry is The Last Lie, New York Quarterly Books, 2010. Poem reprinted from Paterson Literary Review, Issue 37, 2009/2010, by permission of Tony Gloeggler and the publisher.
Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.