As the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks approached, I found myself increasingly displeased with some of the language of my original “In Aggregate”

I decided to clarify that while the unidentified of 9/11 may be forever bonded, physically, to the sites of the attack, their memory and their afterlife are not bounded by the location of their remains.

May God have mercy on those who died those day, on those who have died of diseases contracted on the Pile, and of all who have died in the War on Terror. May they be brought to “a place of light, a verdant place, a place of freshness, from where suffering, pain and cries are far removed.”

May their memories be a blessing. And may God bless America.

My soul does not cleave to the dust
Even if my flesh does
Even if my blood clots it
Even if my bone shapes it

Nowhere and everywhere I am
And I am not alone—
Like motes in a sunbeam
We hang together, strung
Between here and eternity.

This is eternity: to be bonded,
but not bounded, by time and space;
To see a day as twenty years
And twenty years a day

The line between life and death
Is so thin, and still so terrible
Like the sharp blue edge of sky;
So begrudge us not this sacred earth
Of which we have become a part.

For all victims of 9/11 who were never recovered

Allison Shely, 9/10/2021

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