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Memoirs ∼ “Remembering 9/11” by Arthur Gatti ∼ Page 1

Arthur Gatti


“Shattered Vision”


Our West Village loft had a four-walled mural in the bathroom–

a panorama of Lower Manhattan

In late ninety-nine a rampant kitchen blaze brought firemen

from the nearby stations to save the day.

Containing the small conflagration,

brave men ate smoke, saved us from homelessness.

To ensure against rogue flames hiding within,

they broke through wallboard — the men who would answer a final call

ten months later –

whose bodies would be shattered in rubble—

they shattered the image on one wall

of the Twin Towers…looking for fire


And the day came when they found fire.

A bike ride away, smoke and flame–

the whole world crumbling,

I stood in the open air

and beheld the funeral pyre of peace

without a voice-over.

Sleep was shot with shrapnel of images

Dawn struck, confused, disoriented

where to go, what to feel,


I bought a dozen white roses

and mad-staggered to the firehouse off Houston, on Sixth,

stood outside gaping….

Surrounded by candles and flowers,

a lone firefighter’s portrait in a simple frame.

I did not see a name,

but I knew the certainty of such memorials,

noticed the solemn young man

leaning against the building, a vigil of one.


I asked him, “Did many men from this station house die?”

“He did,” nodding at the photo.

“He was my brother.”


I shattered into spasms of damned-up grief,

embraced him, and—

before stumbling back through the poison air of the day—

thrust the roses into his arms.


I had no words.

I just went away.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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