The Death of, Like, a Ball-Turret Gunner

      [audio by Sarah Busse]

Okay. It’s, like, this guy. He had the craziest dream.
He was born while his mom was catching a nap, and he slid out
Onto the floor of the state capitol building. Or something. Eww.

And then, somehow, he got way up, six miles
From earth, which was dreaming about life,
But then he got cut loose.

This is why I hate poetry. There’s no air up that high.
Is there? And I don’t believe the earth can dream.
But whatever.

And then he must have been on a plane,
And he must have managed to fall asleep somehow.
Now that’s amazing. Who can get comfortable in those crap seats?

And then some black flak stuff woke him up.
Flak is anti-aircraft fire, or so says my teacher.
If it’s fire, how can it be black? But whatever.

And then, next thing you know, our pilot dude is in a turret,
And my teacher explained that a turret
Is a plexiglass dome

Underneath a World War II bomber plane
And the serviceman inside it would swivel around
And shoot at anything that moved,

And his lifespan was inevitably very short
Since he was hanging out there in a bubble.
Well, duh! Can you say vul-ner-uh-ble?

And then, there he is, splattered like something
Whirled in a frickin’ blender, till somebody comes along
And washes him out with a humongous hose.

And if you read between the lines,
You know he’s like, this is so not fair.
And that part, I totally get.

—Theresa Welford, Statesboro, GA