I wrote this poem the week after Sept. 11th, 2001. Everything in it is true. My father did work in the 88th floor, but left that job a couple of years before the towers came down…
Slice of Heaven
by Neal Shusterman
Written after September 11, 2001
Like faint gray mountains in the distance.
The only hint of skyline seen,
From the south tip of Brooklyn.
They grew up with me;
At ten my father took me to the Battery,
To watch them as they rose,
The marvels that defined my youth.
At 18 my father brought me again.
His office; tower two, floor 88.
Above the clouds, yet still on solid ground.
The view from his window confirmed heaven.
My sons had pizza on the 110th floor
When the towers had two months to live.
King Kong straddled the gap in my youth.
Spiderman caught the helicopters in theirs,
But pizza in the sky was still the same;
Greasy and overpriced
Just as I remembered.
On the Times Square screen,
Larger than life, but smaller than reality,
My father, now retired, saw his old office crumble,
And wondered who he knew,
But didn’t dare find out.
His old business cards are now treasures.
Had it been only architecture,
Had it been only office space,
The loss could be settled,
But how can you make an accounting,
When your sons still remember the face,
Of the man who served them pizza in the sky?