A slender shaft flies silver through the sky,
sunward climbing, unmanned, stern
the thoughtless and inhuman-minded eye—
glances at the stucco-huts in turn,
looking for an unmanned one to burn.

Think instead of pink umbrellas on a ship,
they tell him, think of purple cows! Now seize
with unmanned eyes the red insistent blip.
He does not see the glow from overseas—
Immured by purple cows: that red disease.

—was the number in the hut, besides
collateral who numberless looked on.
—was the number (fewer every time)
of nights for cows, umbrellas, ships (each one
a murder dream) to sink back like the moon.

The hut seen from the sky goes phantom gray;
seen from the screen and streets, it leaks
a plume or two of smoke. The dead lay
few. The pilot and his love lie fast asleep:
his arms are wings, his unmanned face is deep.

Lora Rivera writes Life Books for children in foster care and spent
the past few years navigating the social land mines of U.S. military
etiquette as an officer's spouse. She interned at Claire Gerus Literary
Agency and holds an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her short
stories and poems can be found in e-zines and print journals such as
Existere, Antique Children, Two-Bit Magazine, and MARY Magazine. |
by Lora Rivera