260 on jet die in Queens crash; 6 to 9 missing as 12
homes burn; U.S. doubts link to terrorism. Recorder is found. A recorder is recovered from the wreckage. From a smoldering pile of metal - clothes - seat covers - strollers - hair clips - watches - fingers, with and without rings - unidentifiable fluid - comes a warped, battered, burnt box, teeming with voices. Two wars, many fears. Fears, perhaps, of more planes plunging from the sky for unknown reasons, caused by birds in the engine, or bombs in the overhead bins - one carry-on, please. Across the ocean, another war; Taliban withdrawing from Kabul as rebels move toward the capital. Men with beards on the run. Guys who thought they could end anarchy with a bullet and the appropriate verse - retreating in an orderly fashion toward invisible southern caves. Old Soviet guns slung over their shoulders, bags of tea in their pockets. A mouse for dinner - roasted in the trench. A little black body, shriveled. Charred.
Grief echoes from New York to Santo Domingo. Arguably beyond, spreading from New York City like a web. New York is used to being the center of everything; this is the same, in inverse, colors switched off. All roads lead to the Big Apple. On the streets and avenues, cars are jamming up, their lights on, despite the sunlight. They are driving slowly, in lines. They make a grid.
In fallen Taliban city, a busy, busy barber. Hair falls on ancient tiles as a rite of renewal is enjoyed. Hairy masks drop. The radio is on, and it's playing music. Some of the less faithful aren't praying anymore. Life resumes, even as fanatic Pakistanis scatter, getting their brains blown out by rebel heroes. Scalps hit the ancient tiles. In Mazar-e Sharif, no one cares. It's spring cleaning in November.
After the funerals, another catastrophe. It's impossible to breathe easily in a life transformed from a soft sweet jelly to a series of steep grey stairs, ascending numerically away from something difficult to erase. The new catastrophe is just an echo and a rain of debris and a wail of sirens, bouncing off the burning walls of Belle Harbor.
Takeoff from J.F.K. - Dominican Republic was destination.
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