alwayslooking — Kamikaze


He was there,
My father,
In the seas
Off of Iwo Jima:
Staring fixedly
At a radar screen.
Searching for planes
With explosive force
Bent on colliding
With American lives.
Calling out warnings
Of impending doom.

Deep in his ship,
He could not see the men,
As the statue shows,
Pushing a flag upward,
High on the mountain -
Helmeted figures
Exhausted by the toil,
Claiming their surroundings,
Showing they'd won.

Now larger planes appear
In a once-friendly sky,
Explosively aimed.
I saw them there,
On the screen
Into which I stared
Fascinated, fixated,
Watching them collide
With American lives,
As intentional
As long ago,
When my father
Shouted of their coming.

But I could see the men,
As the pictures show,
Raising a flag upward -
Helmeted figures,
Dusty and exhausted,
On a pile of rubble
Above the carnage,
Claiming their humanity,
Refusing to lose.

And I begin to think
How odd it is
That, in the end,
My father and I,
Distanced by
Separated by
Time and Mortality,
Should share
Such a fearsome thing:
Should have both seen
Airplanes clothed
In destruction,
Promising death,
Leading nameless men
To signal the future
By raising on high
A battle weary flag.

© alwayslooking
Sept 22, 2001