Homage to the WTC Expert Technical Review Panel

'T was two days after history changed its direction

as radically as a plane veering off course

when mindful of Nasdaq and Dow's bottom line

the White House, through Whitman, declared the air "fine."

Returning to offices, schools and apartments

the residents, with baited breath having waited,

let out that breath in relief, not understanding

that they'd have done better to have kept it baited.

For who would have thought, under such circumstances,

the White House would lie, and to such a degree?
Americans couldn't begin to believe

that their leaders might poison them; call them naive.

They ignored the foul odor as harmless if gross

like their symptoms the experts said would go away

and armed with the buckets doled out by Red Cross

they cleaned up their apartments that looked like Pompeii.

A year later, confronting rage and litigation

from people who said we should not have returned,

EPA, in a moment of faux introspection

came out with a document called Lessons Learned.

However the residents weren't appeased.

EPA and the White House kept feeling the heat

so they set up a panel of experts to keep

the community busy and off of the street.

Five more buildings now face demolition and history

seems bent on repeating mistakes of the past.

Intervene, so years after this panel's adjourned

your memoirs need not also be called Lessons Learned.

Jenna Orkin

WTC Environmental Organization