Photograph from September 11

By Wisława Szymborska 1923–2012 Wisława Szymborska

Translated By Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them   
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.

Wisława Szymborska, “Photograph from September 11” from Monologue of a Dog. Copyright © 2005 by Wisława Szymborska. Reprinted with permission of Harcourt, Inc.

Source: Monologue of a Dog (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005)

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Poet Wisława Szymborska 1923–2012

POET’S REGION Poland

Subjects Living, Cities & Urban Life, Sorrow & Grieving, Social Commentaries, Death

Holidays September 11th