The first roar bolts from nowhere. Like a flashback, flinch
and duck before the bomb hits. When F-16s gun it
diving in low, high-rise windows shudder in their frames,
cats race to cower under beds, and the toddler
two shaken floors up wails in witless terror
as over and over the jets roar, just for show. Lucky girl,
she knows only thunder, not the fire that names
air raids on cities where other people live
or lived. Lucky she’s not collateral burned alive—
not when Milwaukee’s air show returns for summer
fun at the beach, for the oohs and ahhs of an afternoon
parade of family-friendly air power. Outside
not one bird’s in flight, no robin or crow.
The crowd overflows.
—Mark Zimmermann, Milwaukee