Airfield

By Robert Siegel

All day the great planes gingerly descend
an invisible staircase, holding up
their skirts and dignity like great ladies
in technicolor histories, or reascend,
their noses needling upward like a compass
into a wild blue vacuum,
leaving everything in confusion behind:

In some such self-deceiving light as this
we’ll view the air force base when moved away
from where its sleepless eye revolves all night.
We’ll smile and recollect it conversationally–
tell with what ease the silver planes dropped down
or how they, weightless, rose above
our roof. We’ll pass it with a sugar and cream,

forever sheltered from this moment’s sick
surprise that we have lived with terror, with pride,
the wounded god circling the globe, never resting,
that in the morning and the evening we have heard
his cry, have seen him drag his silver wings
whining with anguish like a huge
fly seeking to lay its deadly eggs.