The Hand of a Man

A man’s severed hand, clutching that of a child’s:

Their bodies both gone: monstrously defiled.

Their lives were ended that day in a horrendous blast:

As unreasoning hatred entered their world,

And left a nation aghast.


Could the man have lived?

Had he let go;

Of that small hand that made him move slow?

Had he been free to run;

If not burdened so?


But as to these we will never know.

For it was not in the man to just let go.

He had chosen life for the child:

He would risk his own to make it so.


And so in the rubble where so many had died,

They found the hand of a man….

The tiny hand of a child clutched tightly inside.


                     And they cried.



The News Tribune

Tacoma, Washington  Thursday, October 11, 2001

“Thoughts from ground zero”

By Skip Card


A firefighter calls me over.  He found a man’s hand and

wrist.  He carefully takes it to the morgue.  The man’s

hand is clenched in a fist.  It was so tight it took two

of them to open it.  When they got the man’s clenched

fist open, there was a child’s hand inside of it.

He cried, for the first time.  I cried, not for the last time.

(Jeni) Gregory