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A Poem for 9/11

When Tuesday is Like Sunday

When Tuesday is Like Sunday —

Not the “great getting up in the morning,”... “Oh, Lord,”... foot tapping,

hand clapping kind of Sunday like in my father’s Baptist Church. No.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

Confusion clouds the most routine

the world is out of order and chaos reigns the day.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

There is no rush hour. People drive slow in the morning as if it is a Sunday

afternoon and they are out for a leisure ride. I drive on five different

freeways from San Leandro to Martinez never having to slow for traffic.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

The money-changers and tax collectors close their shops;

Many government centers are closed, and schools and stores shut their

doors as if it is the Sabbath.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

Words are brief. Every conversation is hushed and ends with a benediction

to “take care,” “be careful,” or “stay safe.”

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

Long distance calls are made to family and friends everywhere, but not

because “the rates are cheaper today.”

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

The nation is in prayer regardless of denominations. National leaders and

political figures are praying everywhere (even on television) and it is okay. It

can’t be a weekday, must not be a school day, and certainly not a day of

government assembly because prayer would not be allowed — so this

Tuesday must be Sunday.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

It is not the Super Bowl that has people preoccupied and staying home.

In fact,

When Tuesday is like Sunday, the Pastor does not have to worry about

losing his audience at game time. All the football games and other sporting

events have been canceled.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

Strangers among the congregation of humanity hug each other in the

streets, in the hallways, in parking lots.

When Tuesday is like Sunday —

Time stands still, moves slow and fast forward all at the same time.

Time is marked by watching, waiting, and wondering. Watching for loved

ones, waiting for phone calls, wondering why and what’s next?


I wrote this piece following September 11, 2001. As the nation now

prepares for “what’s next,” let us pray as if it is Sunday, Friday, or even

Tuesday. Pray for peace, unity, and for wisdom for the leaders, be they in

city hall or the nation’s Capitol. As I said earlier, some years are just easier

to write about.

Surlene Grant (Council Member in San Leandro, 1998-2008)

Posted with permission of the author.



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