Reverse Chronology Poem

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In New York City, rescue crews began to place bodies back into the smoldering wreckage of the World Trade Center as firefighters sucked water off of the remains of the building, igniting a fire. The haze everywhere in the air was condensing into plumes of smoke lowering themselves into the growing fire which began to construct what would become the foundation and lower floors of the buildings. As night gave way to twilight the fires grew and stragglers began walking south towards lower Manhattan. More and more smoke and ash began to collect itself and rush towards the fire. As afternoon approached, an enormous pile of debris rose up and formed itself into a 47-story office building which began to collect plumes of smoke. Activity on the street increased as rescue crews departed and ambulances came and went to bring bandaged people from the hospital where they had been injured and carry them on stretchers into the chaos and smoke. Some simply had splints and bandages removed and were released so they could run towards the scene of the construction.

Anger gave way to fear as morning approached. As more people ran towards the partially-formed towers, debris began to rise up off the Manhattan streets, repairing damage to cars and buildings and healing many injured people nearby. The smoke and ash continued to condense until it was impossible to see as hundreds of people ran towards the gathering structures. Eventually, the smoke and ash condensed into a wall of smoke and debris which retreated towards the plaza, until finally it began to form itself into the first tower, which rose like a phoenix out of its ashes. People flew from the ground into the windows of newly-constructed tower, where the flames were confined to a small, as-yet-constructed section near the top. Everyone on the street stopped where they were and stared at the tower with the growing realization that another tower was about to form.

In Washington D.C., a burning section of the Pentagon repaired itself as rescue workers rushed people into the building.

* * * *

In New York City a second skyscraper collected itself from ash and debris and rose up, taking its place next to the newly-constructed tower to the North. Both buildings continued to attract smoke and flame near the top floors.

When the news came that the Pentagon had completed its repairs and ejected a passenger plane, bringing dozens of people to life, the mood in New York became somewhat lighter— although there were still badly injured people waiting to be healed by rising debris.

The smoke on one of the towers began to heat up and thicken, forming itself into a fireball which collected shards of debris from the street and fashioned itself into a passenger plane, abruptly assembling the remaining floors and structures of the tower, ending all of the fires, and beginning the lives of hundreds of people. The completely intact passenger plane flew away from the tower at alarming speed.

On the street, terror and shock gave way to concern and interest as people watched for a second plane to emerge from the second tower. Everyone knew that soon enough everything would be back to normal.

-Joe Futrelle


Writers on 11 September 2002:
Raymond Federman, Joe Futrelle, Kurt Heintz, Dirk Stratton, Chandra Vega