Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Ninth floor

"The doors open in!
No one hears her, just one more voice.
The ninth floor workers throw
themselves at metal doors,
screaming: Ratevet! Auidami! Help!

The flames are drawing closer,
like too hot blankets
and fear-sweat sticks Kate's shirtwaist
to her back, to her girl's chest
too tight to breathe.

Someone screams in Yiddish
and the crowd, hands trembling,
moves back just enough.
The fire licks at their skirts.

"Hail Mary," Kate whispers
against the hot air.
The doors shudder as girls pull,
the metal burning their hands.
They do not let go
but the door--

the door is locked.

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