News of the Fall of the Towers Reaches Petrolia

News of  the Fall of the Towers Reaches Petrolia

Clock strikes six. No sunrise,
Almost Equinox.
We pull on shoes and
Step out to be shrouded in sea fog.
Unseen waves  smash, deafen,
All else gone to fog.. We throw hay
To the dark forms of horses. Today
We will move the cows  across the Mattole
To winter on the King Range.

Scrambling eggs, the phone rings.
It’s Jenny calling from Red Hook.
Michael picks up, I partly hear from kitchen:
Rags, scraps, pieces of things are flying by her window
On sour smoke. Something about a plane. Then, Michael,
Impatient:  today is roundup. We’ll call back.

The cock crows.

Speeding grandson Nathan, sleepy two-year-old, down to Nancy’s,
Comes the radio voice, screaming, stunned:
The Towers are in flames. People are jumping…

New York.
Beloved! But I
Predate the World Trade Center,
That ignoble immensity
Perfect target, rooted in gold bars,
Imperiously staring down the world,
Humbled only by Phillippe Petit
Who conspired for six years, threw a cable
And danced back and forth between the towers,
A quarter -mile above the ground
Needing no plane
To the delight of early risers.

I saddle Lottie. We shot Jordan,
My own horse, this summer:
Hopeless shoulder joint infection.
After the pyre, Nathan pushed his bones around
With his little bulldozer.

Riders up, we plunge, blind, through the ever-thickening fog,
And ford the river
To meet Lou, who waits with his sons and his dogs.

Horses nose together and we strategize,
Who goes where.
Then there’s talk of twin towers,
And what comes next.
Lou, a teaser, eyes his son,
“Well, Billy, I guess you’ll be going to war!”
The boy, embarrassed, shifts in his saddle.

I get the East Meadow, and start off up Moore Hill. Halfway,
A two-year-old colt, loose, Lottie’s grandson,
Plunges out of the fog,
Tries to mount her. His bright hooves flash by my ears.

Ellen Taylor can be reached at