September 11 (See New Revision)
I slouch into my class, bowed by the brute,
apocalyptic shock. No student's eyes
forsake the glowing screen; the sound is mute.
Their center, Yeats's vatic lines forewarn, flies
apart, a deluge soundless as white soot,
tsunami boiling dust from toppled skies,
benumbs the class, makes exegesis moot,
and seizes the innocent with stifled sighs.
The students stir, but no one leaves or speaks
so I'm not forced to feign I understand
'indignant desert birds' until next week's
remarks on beasts that stalk the troubled sand.
I chew my lip and mumble class dismissed;
follow them out, my pockets crammed with fist.
[Allusions are to 'The Second Coming' by W. B. Yeats.]