New York City Shuts Down

The whole of lower Manhattan is coated in half an inch of dust.

The mayor closed lower Manhattan this morning.

Thousands of people left by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Election called off, airports closed, Wall Street suspended, UN evacuated,

Children kept in school because their parents could not get to them.


The entire ER entrance was lined with stretchers covered with white sheets.

Nurses in scrubs. Doctors in uniforms,

waiting for the next wave

At St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Greenwich Village.


Hundreds of people are burned from head to toe.

Remain calm and try to assist in the rescue effort and pray,

Have these streets open so we can move people out of there.

The line to give blood was over 100 people long.


Hanging up in frustration at the profusion of busy signals

According to a spokesman, who declined to give his name.

Bob Slovak said all subway lines stopped running,

and Rockefeller Center urged its tenants to go home.


— Found in “New York City Shuts Down,” Associated Press Report, The New York Times Online: 09/11/2001, 10:00 a.m. PDT. Poem copyright 2001, Lynn Benson. All rights reserved.