I can’t stop seeing the women and men
who jumped to their deaths, rather than burn
in the towers capsizing like The Titanic.
A couple held hands: maybe lovers or colleagues
or they just needed human contact
to take that step off the cliff of oblivion.
Then there was the man who went alone,
his tie flying up to his face as he plummeted
lonely as the ghost he was about to become.
And the woman, who might’ve dreamt
that morning of a raise and promotion,
or that Mr. Right was waiting for her,
on a subway platform or in a coffee shop.

They haunt me like the seamstresses
caught in the 1915 Triangle Factory Fire:
a blazing rat-trap-sweatshop, the doors barred:
to keep workers from stealing cloth scraps:
the only way out, the 9th floor window:
women helped onto the ledge, as if handed
into cabs for a night on the town or a romantic
carriage ride through Central Park: the perfect
spot to pop the question that would,

like those who jumped from the Tower,
have to wait forever for true love on bended knee.