Aptitude and madness flew together,
creating irregular arcs of light in night.
Pilots winged without sleep
and with crazed eyes and clenched toes.
Jets rumbled with fevers of impatience.
The armchair commanders said,
“The world could wait no longer.”
So they rushed into the unknowable,
and the world was tilted by an invasion,
choking with fiery air.
We were never shown unspeakable shocks:
mutilations and murders.
But we were awed by broadcasts
of sorties unleashing raucous skies,
leaving behind in their wake
bursts of death and torrents of terror.
How was it to live among Blitzkriegs
of shattered glass and concrete,
sirens and foreboding clouds
of hydrogen sulfide?
When they dropped their payloads,
smoke rose from behind upturned thumbs.
A version of “On Syria/Remembering ‘Shock and Awe’” was originally published in Prairie Light Review and with a different title.