New Yorker, Poet Nancy Mercado Reads ‘Going to Work’

September 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
After the attacks of September 11th, New Yorker and poet, Nany Mercado, felt compelled to write about what she lost when the World Trade Center Towers came down. Mercado reads her poem, "Going to Work." It was included in "Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets."

RAY SUAREZ: I’m a New Yorker. As a teenager, I watched the Twin Towers being built. In the tough economic times of the late ’70s, I strolled the World Trade Center food court and the underground shopping mall on my way to sign for an unemployment check.

I’ve covered news conferences in Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North Tower. It was hard to believe such enormous, solid, seemingly permanent buildings, could collapse. To this day, I feel their absence whenever I approach the city from Brooklyn or New Jersey.

Poet Nancy Mercado, a fellow New Yorker, felt compelled to write about what she lost when the towers came down.

NANCY MERCADO, poet: “Going to work.”

On their daily trips

Commuters shed tears now

Use American flags

Like veiled women

To hide their sorrows

Rush to buy throwaway cameras

To capture your twin ghosts


Frantically I too

Purchase your memory

On postcards & coffee mugs

In New York City souvenir shops

Afraid I’ll forget your facade

Forget my hallowed Sunday

Morning PATH Train rides

My subway travels through

The center of your belly

Day after day


Afraid I’ll forget your powers

To transform helicopters

Into ladybugs gliding in the air

To turn New York City

Into a breathing map

To display the curvature

Of our world