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by darby lyons

15 December, 1967, Gallipolis, Ohio


We were frozen in Tuscaloosa,

watching the fallen

remains from too far

to do anything but witness

cars and people and shredded steel,

some hovering above,

some jumbled below

the river’s silver surface.

And we waited

to hear from my mother’s sister,

to know her husband was safe,

not one of those we saw falling

in our imaginations. Over and again

they fell in that place

we knew, suddenly

named by newscasters

who couldn’t say it right,

not knowing to drop

the middle syllable,

let it fall away.

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