Pilgrimage . . .

Seven months after 9/11, I book a flight to the city I once called home.  It’s my first trip to Manhattan in two years.  My first trip anywhere since my mother’s passing.  It is, I tell myself and anyone who asks, a pilgrimage—to connect with old friends, to stomp through familiar neighborhoods, to discover what’s different and what remains inexplicably yet reassuringly unchanged.

My friend Rosemary anticipates my wish to visit Ground Zero.  In the city before, during and after September 11, she, like many New Yorkers, has stayed away from the tragedy’s site.  “I knew you’d want to go,” she tells me before I leave for New York.  “I want to go with you.”          

On the site’s platform, I look to the skyline, hoping for a glimpse of what used to be.  Instead, I find testimonials.  Bandannas tied to chain link.  Notes etched into plywood.  Flowers spilling out of plastic water bottles stapled to scaffolding.  Countless small tributes. 

Afterward, Rosemary and I climb stairs to a second-floor Houlihan’s and order martinis.  From our table overlooking Wall Street, we see throngs of business suits mingling with T-shirted tourists.  “I don’t know what to toast,” my friend says finally.

Ever since September 11, my mother wrote on a birthday card she’d sent my brother-in-law shortly before her death, I’m trying to remember the people I care about . . . .

ground zero
one long-stemmed rose dangles
from the makeshift wall

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About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
This entry was posted in 9/11, Haibun, Haiku, Haiku-doodle and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pilgrimage . . .

  1. sanjuktaa says:

    Beautiful and poignant!

  2. Jim Sullivan says:

    I enjoyed it, Margaret. Very good remembrance and strong images of NYC. It is also good to have you back posting, I missed your clear voice.

    Sully

    • Thank you, Sully. I started teaching again a few weeks ago and got caught up in the whirlwind. Then, I looked up and saw I hadn’t posted for a month, but I wanted to do something for September 11. Now, maybe that school is solidly underway, I can get back to hearing other clear voices . . . like yours! Best, M.

  3. Sara says:

    ever since 9-11
    I’m trying to remember
    the people I care about

    makes a lovely haiku, don’t you think? Question, who is the author, you, me, mother?
    Sara

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