For the Fighter Pilot Made Redundant by Unmanned Drones


Fatigued, he bides there, glum, in the desert
Tim Hortons simulacrum, that mirage of home
dragged out the tail end of a C130 Hercules
and opened for business. In his PVC lawn chair,
he pours ho-hum into java and mopes
the spoon about his mug. Quite apart
from the other patrons, he scans beyond the brim
of his patio umbrella the depeopled sky
blue-white and chitin-dry as centuries-dead scorpion,
washed out and wide as a year’s worth
of wasted moments. His half-hearted ear strains
for rumble from the next village over,
but catches only dune-shiftings of coffee talk.

Across base camp, in a darkened room
a pimply-faced private plays video games
in which made-up hellfire falls
on featureless enemy targets that revert to desert
without a peep. Unreal cities. Made-up unmanned
Predator drones patrol the cgi sky, dropping
sugar cube cluster bombs into black coffee
hearts and minds. Dark minds that know not
the fighter pilot twiddling his itchy thumbs
at a Tim Hortons table in the Afghani sun.

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