An Unknown Aviator
Letter Home from a World War I Pilot
At night I cannot sleep, but when sleep dusts
the barracks, a hundred men find their way.
I've lived beyond my time, and the clouds are ghosts,
ghosts turning corners in Boulonge. Those close
come back to life. I'm confused about who remains.
Where are the soldiers, friends I think I've lost?
There are no gods in clouds, and empty wind blows
the stink of grease, gunfire. The ground is where I pray
I'll live beyond my time. Why do clouds hold ghosts,
cockpits clog with nerves? I fear most
I'm no longer young, look sixty, gray
like soldiers and friends I dream I've lost.
Tonight I'll sleep, writhe and toss
through skies clear and silent and tame.
I'll live beyond my time in clouds without ghosts,
visit soldiers and friends I fear I've lost.