Short Shift at Ground Zero - Kim R. Harris

Hello dear visitors to our website. Thanks for checking in!

     As many of you know, I attend Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. I was indeed in NYC on Sept. 11th, though thankfully, a few miles uptown from the attack. At school, we cried, prayed and hoped for the safety of family members and friends of our seminary community. Two weeks later, several groups from school covered a 24 hour shift volunteering at Ground Zero. As we prepared to leave the site, the volunteer coordinator admonished us to find a way to debrief. She rightly knew that our time at Ground Zero was overwhelming in many ways. Later that same day, the following poem wrote itself inside of my soul.

    Reggie and I are currently recording a new CD called SIMPLICITY and will include a recorded version of the poem.

    Thank you for sharing my reflections. We continue to pray for peace!



Sept. 25, 2001 12:00-4:00 AM Ground Zero
Short Shift at Ground Zero
by Kim R. Harris

We rode the subway
Back uptown to seminary
Our shoes are covered with ash and dirt
They won't let you take anything from Ground Zero
Crime Scene
Ministers can't even take ashes back to families
Hoping for the missing, grieving the dead

         Oh God up in heaven
         Blessed be your name

And blessed be the memory of each precious one
Lost to the horror of hatred
On our tiny planet

         May your Way come soon
         Your will be done
         On earth as it is in heaven

"Hey Joe!"
"Shhhh...people sleep in here!"
(softer) "Yea. I'm looking for one of my men."
"Said he'd be sleeping up by the organ."
"Go right up there,
Near the fan, by the light."

St. Paul's Church sanctuary
Praying and sleeping in pews
Women and men recovery workers
We give blankets, coffee, food
And presence

         Give us this day,
         Our daily bread.

Famous chef makes the food
Fifty yards from Ground Zero
A shell that rises like the Coliseum
Small fires still burn
Big machines move
Bright lights glare
My hard hat is blue

What are the flashes of orange
Here and there in the rubble?
I wonder if the fire fighters wore orange coats?

         Forgive us our trespasses
         As we forgive those who trespass against us

So hated, our America
So loved, our digging heroes
Letters and cards on the wall
School kids' poems, paper hugs

No time to ask, "Why?"
"Would you like some desert with your dinner?"
"Isn't this just like a restaurant?"
"To send me here to clean up
Right under your feet!"

         For the kingdom,
         the power and the glory are yours

Here's my badge and my photo ID
Army with guns in the streets
Someone on the radio said,
"ACLU, take a back seat."

I cry when I look at my shoes
Can't bring myself to wash them off

         And forever,

Here is a link back to Kim & Reggie's home page.

This page © Copyright 2001, 2002 Kim & Reggie Harris
No usage of this or associated webpage contents, including photographs, without written authorization by the webpage administrator.
Webpage administrator is Joseph M. Hammer Jr.