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Under a Concrete Gray Sky

Updated on October 22, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He wrote for IHPVA magazines and raced these vehicles with his father (who builds them).


Under a concrete gray sky,

raining ashes and debris,

in this darkest of days,

one woman makes her stand

She sees the island

covered in ash.

She sees the pit

still smoldering

where the mighty towers

once stood.

She sees the people,

of this grand metropolis

on a tiny island,

coming together

in this time of sorrow.

They carry portraits

of their friends, families,

or lovers,

some on flyers,

some on posters

She sees them walking in silence,

eyes cast to the ground

revealing the wounds

only the loss of hope can bring.

She shutters

seeing the woman with

the portrait of her missing husband

hanging around her neck

like the albatross

worn by the Mariner.


She mourns

with those who placed

their loved one’s image

on the blue-tarp fence

of the Wall of Tears

which separates these people

and their waning hopes

from the reality

of Ground Zero.

She hears the city cry

blackened and bruised

by an evil not seen

on these shores.

But tears she will not shed.

She can’t let this city –

she can’t let the nation -

see her cry.


So she makes her stand

on this darkest of days

and raises the flame of liberty

which cuts through the concrete sky

for all to see.

She’ll be their strength

she’ll be their justice

most of all,

as she gazes upon

the shattered City,

she’ll be their hope.

Once, she lifted her lamp beside the “golden door!”

now, she lifts it high to remind all.

That even in this darkest of days

hope will always be there.

“Hope?” Many will say on this day.

When looking for answers

To the horrors on that Tuesday

in September.

“Hope,” She answers


Statue of Liberty on that fateful day.  From:
Statue of Liberty on that fateful day. From:

The Woman and the Portrait

It's obvious what the backdrop of this poem is. However, the inspiration came from a moment that happened a few days after 9/11 attacks. A news crew found a woman walking the streets near Ground Zero, carrying a portrait of her husband. The man in the picture was missing. The woman held out hope that somebody may have seen him.

Although she stated that she held out hope that she would find him alive, the 1000-yard stare gave away her sense of dread that her husband wasn't coming home. Still, she ventured by the Wall of Tears -- a makeshift fence that was draped with A blue tarp where family of the victims placed "missing" posters. She also went by the nearby hospitals and shelters in search of her missing husband.

It's unknown if she ever found him. However, she presented a powerful image that left and indelible mark. For years, I've attempted to write something about her. Eventually I settled for mentioning her in this poem ("like the albatross around the neck of the Mariner").

© 2015 Dean Traylor


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    • Dean Traylor profile image

      Dean Traylor 19 months ago from Southern California

      Lest we forget....we shall not.

    • Dean Traylor profile image

      Dean Traylor 2 years ago from Southern California

      Hi Gypsy. I was going to the school I was teaching at that time when I got news of it. I remember I had a clear view LAX wondering why so many planes were landing not none were taking off. I had visited the trade center and stayed in the Marriott that once existed between the two. That was back in June and I was there for my sister's graduation from Med school.

      On that particular day, my sister was supposed to have her day off from her residency at a Brooklyn hospital. She was called in immediately, because there was general belief that there were going to be many injured coming in and swamping the local hospital. Eerily enough, not many came in. She later help with search and rescue, but it would later become more of a recovery mission. In her words to express that day: You wanted to go down there to save lives, but there was nobody to rescue.

      On another note, I posted an iconic photo that showed the towers and Marriott with a fire chief looking up at it all. That fire chief died that day. My sister told me that happened to be one of her friend's father.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      I was already in Riga, Latvia when this horror happened Dean. It hurt so much that it happened in my hometown and it made it none the less awful because I lived through it with my New Yorkers. If I had still been there working I would have been in it all as I worked just a few blocks from there. As they say we must never forget. I sure hope that woman did find her husband.

    • Dean Traylor profile image

      Dean Traylor 2 years ago from Southern California

      If anyone can find that CNN reports made a few days after 9/11 ...the one with the woman in question, please let me where to find it. Thanks.