Edwin Zimmerman


There were savants then in box kite planes

who held mute disquisitions in the clouds

over the crumpling-tin-pot engine roar,

examining distant imperfections in the skies,

veering, rolling, diving, climbing, swooping,

pressing the triggers of cunning, savage guns

whose murdering bullets were synchronized to speed

between the propeller's blazing whirl of blades.

The camera captures every learned gesture—

how they, through splay-eyed goggles

that made them wise as Chinamen,

peered down in sober contemplation

at some poor Fokker underneath

slowly sinking to earth in smoking eddies,

and how they gravely carved the air with somersaults

as they saluted the flaming mess below.



Edwin Zimmerman is a member of the Folger Poetry Board. His poems have been published in Partisan Review and elsewhere.



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