They were saying
on the fifth anniversary of the Trade Center attack
that when the planes crashed
the fire burned
so hot that scraps of paper turned
to carbon stone -- transformed in a flash
like Lot's imprudent wife looking back.
They showed these shards of slate --
primitive tablets of information carbonate.

And I wondered,
if fire can transmogrify paper to stone,
how hot would it have to be,
how emphatic the compacting fall,
to turn a coffin of debris
into a chest of diamonds? And all
that wretched refuse and busted bone,
what would it be worth --
compared to all the blood and treasure on the earth?

by Donna Lee Van Cott

Donna Lee Van Cott is associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. She has published three books on Latin American politics. This is her first published poem.

Saturday Editionlisten

Page one, above the fold: the world in flames.
A luxury hotel gapes like a sore.
In mammoth type, the headlines yell the names
of prophets stoking hells of holy war.

In Business, meanwhile, there is calm discussion
of sales rates for the sexy underclothes
pitched by Victoria's Secret, and a fashion
for surgical revision of the nose.

It isn't news to those who sell the paper:
Their readers can take only so much hell.
They proffer me the surgeon and the draper
as pastures where my bovine brain may dwell,

ignoring, while it chews on this confection,
the screams of children from the other section.

by Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Measure, Alabama Literary Review, First Things, The Raintown Review and other journals in print and online. She is a recent Pushcart nominee and serves as a moderator on the Eratosphere online poetry forum. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and works as a legal-writing adviser, editor, and indexer for the Minnesota Legislature.

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