here is the eye of the cardinal, blooded
flight flaring above powdered snow,
gaze steeled to the hard target of easy flesh,
staging area bare, leafless limbs ice-sheathed,
naked to the sky, naked to a child’s unbelieving stare,
eyes incandescent, burning with vision,
incoming missiles praising ground zero,
fragmenting to a faith of consuming flame.
Black shell shot into winter light on ice,
here is the sharp wing of the blue jay,
fluted vanes blue like the underbelly of the sky,
an eye-exploding sliver, slaver of glass
blown from a window, blood-vaporized
sight cardinal red, obsidian black,
alloyed pilgrimage of twisting flight,
scapeled surgical strike, stainless steel
stone gutting twilight, wide-eyed, weeping.
This poem was published on April 8 by the online poetry magazine Every Day Poets. It was written during the Iraq war when so many cities in Iraq were the targets for missiles and bombs. One morning I noticed a blue jay and cardinal competing for food in a bird feeder, and the idea of merging images of war and the natural world resulted in "Airstrike." Go to the site and comment on the poem if you like (or comment below).
Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved