things they don't teach you in flight school

from by Hey Predator!

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(we all want to live forever.)

it’s 1977 or possibly 1978 and the sun is high
over an airstrip somewhere in argentina.
there is a crowd of captured intellectuals, students, and activists
gathered on the tarmac, not merely standing, but dancing–
dancing at the news of their freedom and escape.

(just wait.)

those gathered there on that day by means of force
and false pretense are boarded on a plane, drugged, and pushed
naked and blindfolded into the waters of the rio de la plata.
when they finally reach the water, the specks that remain
of their fallen bodies disrupt the glint created
by the so-called river’s reflection
of the coincidently setting sun.

(ocean honest, swallow deeply.
sing that same song you’ve always sung. just sing.)

and somewhere unseen, their last gasps fail;
thin screams, tortured tenants renting the air.
(ocean honest, take them under.)
the aircraft above howls burning gasoline.
(ocean honest, bury endless.)
the water below carries on indifferently.
(ocean honest, forget these lives.)
the pilots, alive, sit silently still, numb.
(futures haunted by loss thereof.)
the stranded, faint, softly succumb.

they miss the last call for death rattles.
the water overtakes their lungs.
their last convulsions never happen:
they can’t break surface long enough.
(here comes the death.)
this is their death.

(the only witnesses vacate the scene,
leaving only vacancies.)

the sun hides behind the horizon.
the water, restless, carries on.
the bodies sink, untenanted.
the souls ejected, fleeting, gone.
los desaparecidos sing the ocean breeze from here on out.
los desaparecidos fill silent the empty air.


from foxholes and atheists and so forth., released October 30, 2010




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