I inform you, Minoru Yamasaki
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I inform you, Minoru Yamasaki

by Manuel Quintero-Vargas

I search the dictionary; your name is not there.
A homograph, a sound-alike word about a Japanese admiral,
tells me who and what counts.
You, World Trade Center's architect,
creator and builder, you are not mentioned either in this day,
September 11, 2001, a journey of terror, mourning, fear.
The Towers! From an office window, I saw them every day:
Giant yardsticks of power and wealth,
Slim, elegant shafts, austere cubical obelisks,
glory of the new Pharaohs, anchor pillars of Wall Street,
For a few days every year, the sun descended in the middle of them, against a backdrop of ochres, fire reds, gold.
If a meddler asked why I was idle, I'd respond,
"This counts, enjoy with me the splendor of the sunset."
From now on, alas! your lofty columns will not frame
motives for contemplation.
Soon, in a mutilated cityscape, their charred skeletons,
the distorted gothic arches that you fit in there,
as a defiant anachronism, will be demolished, trashed.
In a memorial park, a monument will tell
of the many hopes shipwrecked there,
of secretaries, janitors, errand boys,
of executives and advisers who knew of ventures,
merges, commodities, bonds.
People who didn't talk of disputed sacred lands,
of affronted nationalisms and symbols,
of assailed settlements or refugee camps!
Dedicated parents, husbands, creators, like you, in their fields. The rubric of these times? The crime perpetrators, the avengers
will be enshrined, revered; theirs names,
written in a thousand books: Escalated retaliation,
"a hundred eyes for an eye, you'll pay no matter
how much each retribution cost us --or to the world!--"
That's what counts, Minoru Yamasaki.
That's what I see framed between shafts of smoke
in this melancholy sunset.


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Copyright Manuel Quintero-Vargas, 9-12-2001


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