by Roy Beckemeyer

Some images linger.

My youngest grandson, three days old, held the promise of the future. But the television screen and the commentators’ stark voices seemed to belie that future. Telephoto lenses focused on distant buildings, surreal against the blue September sky, smoke roiled from the blemished skyscrapers, and I couldn’t swallow, a bolus of bile and heartache stuck between gut and head. This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. This can’t be.

And then I saw the first one. a bird dropping from a window ledge? No, it didn’t fly, it just fell. A piece of debris? Then another. My God, those are people falling through September skies. September is for falling leaves, smoke from burning leaves, waves of birds beginning to migrate south. Not for this.


My grandson turned sixteen three days ago. He plays football beneath blue skies, walks through school hallways with his friends, still holds all that promise. May his September skies be forever free of lives ending in free-fall. 


September Prayer

Lord, let me end things
like the leaves, in a burst
of all those bright
colors that have been
hidden inside me
the whole long
summer of my life.

I would like to let go
like a dry petiole,
fall like a leaf so dry
and light the air
will barely ripple
at my passage.

I would wish to float
aimlessly for a while,
my spread arms
and legs giving me loft,
a tendency to skitter
on the slightest
breeze, so as to defy all
predictions as to where
and when I would,
finally, come to earth.


~Roy Beckemeyer, September 11, 2017




For the victims of 9-11 and those who remember them. And for John and his generation.