V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





The islanders who fished the North Pacific 
saw the silent airplane inch northwest 
across the sky, the new sun glinting 
off the fuselage as if to flash a warning 
to a world that did not speak its tongue. 
The ocean swelled, played dumb, held fish 
as it had always done, and spritzed 
the neutral anglers, who were troubled 
by developments that seemed to have no end. 
Five miles overhead propellers hummed. 
The airplane never deviated from its course. 
It did not reconsider this advance 
in warfare, did not hear from anyone 
whose time on earth had come to this. 
It dropped the bomb upon a city 
fresh from sleep and morning tea. 
The light sped toward the hills. 
The mushroom cloud bloomed upward. 
The cockpit of the plane was bright 
with pilots' teeth.  There was no use 
pretending that the trip back to the air base 
north of sunny Guam felt grim.

© by John Popielaski


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