Pilot to Bombardier

Pilot to Bombardier,
are the boulevards burning?
The out-of-Dodge roads? We feel
still heavy with payload,
though smoke whispers
of smoldering — of hamlets
and metropolises aflame.
Pilot to bombardier, I remember
kissing my wife in the hanger,
remember you brushing the bomb
like some mother delivering
her son to his first school day —
gravely aware the guidance
systems of his eyes would come
on-line after the short time
out of your arms, learning.
Pilot to Bombardier (you would never
proffer your child to a burning schoolhouse)
why are we flying, cradling meteoric clusters,
over lands already bursting with war-
heads and small arms fire
and child soldiers and students
of battle and all their constant hopes
that the blast we carry might be
the one to eradicate enemy and enemy
alike? — a shockwave to slow all
air and artillery until they drop
harmless as Mars’ iron tears.
Pilot to Bombardier, we’re losing
altitude. We’re going down. Mayday,
mayday, the earth calls to us.

Kyle Dargan is an assistant professor of literature at American University, the founder/editor of Post No Ills Magazine, and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.