Today’s news: F16 down in Iraq.
Is it—yes, it is. Their squadron: 524,
Hounds of Heaven. The calm reporter
tells you heaven has claimed one.
You gather, the few of you, in a room
that once held a husband in it every day,
a quiet space where black electronic boxes
will tell you: something. But when?
You wait. You watch. You listen.
Impotent. There is nothing, nothing
you can do. God, yes, you hope and pray,
but you, no. You are impotent now,
utterly removed from spheres of action
or solution. The silence of the hours closes
in on you, pushes you well beyond worry
and ever closer to the precipice of a shock
you can never be ready for, that you must
always, somehow, be ready for. But how?
Then, by phone, the news after the news.
So brief the words, so great the relief.
It’s him. This time. And for one other
wife, it’s not. This time.
And never will be again.
Great courage it takes to go into battle.
Great courage it takes to wait, powerless, in love.