Night Vision

operation desert torch                  eight hundred rangers
in black parachutes            storming the airport            on the hill
where jimmy doolittle trained bomber crews            long dead
B29s            (bombs over tokyo)            and where
            tomorrow ordinary citizens
                        will fly out
                                    in a nine seat turboprop

it’s an honor            to have these people here
our mayor says

                                    night vision devices
                                                let the chosen few            see
            pyrotechnics            awe            inspiring                  like a movie
                              machine gun rounds
                  from whirling birds            called            killer egg            talon            osprey
special ops planes
            named for ghosts

two boys whisked away
with static-line jump

                              all night the roar                  and we know
every mother’s son                  will rise
            (gatling                  howitzer                  cannon
            names familiar on the nearby rez)
and fall

                              (“i think about my own kids”)

as we try to remember
                        smaller                  ordinary things

hearth fires            and
goldfinches clinging to thistle socks

at 3 a m the moon


Bette Lynch Husted

About Bette Lynch Husted

Bette Lynch Husted lives and writes in Pendleton, Oregon. Her first collection of memoir essays, Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land (OSU Press 2004) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and WILLA Award in creative nonfiction. Other works include the poetry collection At This Distance (Wordcraft 2010) and Lessons from the Borderlands (Plain View Press 2012). She was a Fishtrap Fellow and received a 2007 Oregon Arts Commission Award, and helped start the First Draft Writers' Series in Pendleton.
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