From The Submission by Amy Waldman
But his bitterness was overwhelmed by the magnitude of mourning around him. The city reeled – the air ashy, people ashen, the attack site a suppurating wound you felt even when you couldn’t see it. One night, soon after his return, Mo walked toward the zone of destruction. The moonlight picked out a strange fine dust clinging to leaves and branches; he toe rested on a paper scrap with charred edges. The eternal lights were off in the nearby office towers, as if the city’s annual appetites had been quelled. A quilt of the missing – bright portraits of tuxedoed men and lipsticked women – had been pasted on fences and construction plywood, but the streets were empty, and for the first time in memory, he heard his own footsteps in New York City.