Nomenclature by Ann E. Kottner

Like a Rorschach blot, it is many things:
we've seen the Face of Evil
in its smoke,
a cross of steel girders rising from its rubble,
the graceful and tragic ruins of cathedrals
in its seven-story fragment
pierced with pointed arches.
Against that backdrop,
sparks of green, blue, yellow, and white bob,
the hardhats of ironworkers, cops, fire fighters,
digging more desperately than miners,
gaudy visitors to this sudden slum
inhabited by the dead,
more blighted than the South Bronx,
more fetid than Calcutta.
We don't know what to call it.

The wreckage, as though it were
an accident?

The Pile, in capitals,
as though it were an artwork
or a hoard?

The site, which only begs
the question, of what?
We settle, with queasiness, on Ground Zero,
a new meridian, a new latitude
with which to orient ourselves
in the crosshairs of this
altered time and place.
But this crater radiates nothing,
once the fires die.
The only glow is halogen and neon,
and the bombs were not nuclear
but human.
No one will build here again,
the earth salted with mourning,
bloodied and scorched, caged in
steel wrung like wet cloth, >
and buried in blasted stone.
Seven years to clear and build it, only >
a few hours to make it
hallowed ground.