Alexandra Chan

On This Day

The year was 2001,


                    Hard of Hearing

to my mom pushing my brother in a stroller
Me, clinging to her outstretched hand.

She hears a ring from her Verizon branded flip phone,
my father on the other end

“Check the news,
I think there may have been a package bomb”

“I’m walking the kids to school right now,
I’ll look when I get back home”

An unconcerned mother closes her phone
And proceeds with her duties.
Carefully Coordinated.

Meanwhile at the office, all is calm.
Everyone works as people begin evacuating

My father is not phased.

People rush past his door, until one

An old friend of his expresses the urgency of the matter,
Telling him to leave the building as he would too.

My father complies, but doesn’t leave
Without backing up all his files, extremely thorough.

Firefighters make their way up, higher and higher,
Storming the vacant staircases,

Eventually making it to the seventy-eighth.

My father, after finishing his sweep of data,
2,606 dead
Follows them down.

Flight after flight, descending,
Looking out into the city he once thought he knew,

Now all he could see was papers fluttering,
And objects falling at remarkable speeds, almost inhuman

The morgues were going to be the busiest.

Carnage was concealed
He reaches the bottom.
By the twisted, smoking, ash-choked carcasses

The door slams,
My mother turns on the TV.

Locate and removed survivors.

          Experienced a trauma.

Date, 9/11

Alexandra Chan is a first-year student at Boston University studying Hospitality in the School of Hospitality Administration. Her work has never been published.