By Cheryl J. Fish
for the Davids
World Trade Center and Mount St. Helens
"Step by step, breath by breath—no rush, no pain." –Gary Snyder
David Burns, insurance man hears a metallic thud
just after morning coffee, September 11, 2001.
A crushing noise a windy void.
He peers out his north-facing view
sees windows blown out eye-level
windows, no crater.
Shouts to anyone who will listen
shouts to the wind.
Some co-workers flee
to floor 78 express car
Liberty Street in a matter of seconds
before number two's crash.
Column of steam, ash, rises 7,000 feet.
Ice and rock, wind a wild ride.
Cracks merge and become the "bulge."
Volcano souvenir business flourishes.
USGS scientist David Johnston measures the bulge on the north flank.
His observation point Coldwater II six miles northeast of St. Helens peak.
Sightseers press towards the steaming crater for closer view and photos.
Bystanders and students watch as captives plummet from the towers,
missiles of grief. This is not television. Yes, it is.
"Go home," I shout. "Look away." Snails and stomachs and tails.
You know nothing of what's to come. Metallic thud.
Dave Burns and his pal Paul rush onto the waiting Staten Island Ferry
Engine ramps ramps ramps into the blue and black.
Life jackets all around in case of an aerial attack
It's not the engine, no, but a hulking dust cloud,
Time-made matter, a dirge.
A 13,000 foot eruption of ash and steam
harmonic tremor signaling. Hot
seismic chart blot May 12 a 5.0 earthquake
underneath the north flank of St. Helens
triggers a small debris avalanche half a mile down.
Many people come out with cameras and binoculars.
Last chance for Spirit Lake landowners to evacuate.
David Johnston perishes; David Burns survives.
Bones cut the wind.
More towers rise.
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