Saturday, May 14, 2011

For all those who've known a Michael Francis Lynch

I read Michael Francis Lynch
lived twice, but differently
as two different men
and was killed
on the same day
in the same tragedy.

We’ll mark it, that day
(and both of him,
and those more than two,
thousands of others)
with twin reflective pools
set within twin absences.

Above the one,
northerly facing
spaces carved out of bronze
may recall one
Michael Francis Lynch.

Above the second
southerly gazing, similar
spaces taken from similar bronze
may recall a second
Michael Francis Lynch.

How will they know,
those who knew
either Michael Francis Lynch,
which of the face-filling blanks
holds which?

And if by the same
slim chance as two
men with the same name
finding the same end
on the same day,
they, all those who knew them,
choose the same bronze
and search it
for the same spaces,
whose face will they find
in those empty words,
and will the other still unread
stand for anything more
than emptiness?

I read a short piece in the New Yorker ("The Names" by Nick Paumgarten, 5/16/2011 issue) about the National September 11 Memorial due to be completed in the fall. It dealt with the difficulties the designers had arranging the names of those who were killed on the bronze panels ringing the two cascading pools where the towers stood. Among the 2,982 victims were two with the same name, Michael Francis Lynch, and it was decided that they should be listed on separate panels.
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