THE LAW OF THE UNFORESEEN by Edward Harkness PUBLISHES this 9.15.18!
Join Ed and NW friends at upcoming readings:
Already past – Aug. 19, 2018: Oak Harbor Library, north end of Whidbey Island, 3-4:30 p.m.
Oct. 10, 2018: Jefferson County Library, Port Hadlock, south of Port Townsend, 7 p.m. I’ll be reading with Holly Hughes.
Oct. 11, 2018: Peninsula College, Port Angeles, 7 p.m. Reading with Holly Hughes.
Oct. 18, 2018: Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.
Jan. 25, 2019: Pelican Bay Books, Anacortes, 7 p.m. Reading with Elizabeth Austin.
Apr. 12, 2019: Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.
The Unfocused Eyes of Drones
They’re dream wrens in the clear lake of day,
like toys, a slightly larger replica
of those model planes men play with
at the park on weekends to escape the house.
One of them, Chuck, lives near me.
I see him summer afternoons, alone
on the baseball diamond’s pitcher’s mound.
He flies a delicate Sopwith Camel biplane,
then a screaming Spitfire that frightens a park dog.
He barrel-rolls his planes, gliding on some
unnamed emotion wired to his remote control.
You could say Chuck, the operator,
is well-rounded in his “Beer Beats Sex” tee shirt.
He’s got Santa’s beard and Trotsky’s glasses.
He wouldn’t harm a soul, though he lives
in a country that harms souls every day.
He may well know drones have been taught to think,
to beam down and detect human auras.
When its blue brain glows red, darts fly out,
quieter than starlight aimed at desert flowers.
The operator sits in a quiet room
playing the controls somewhere deep inside
the American Heartland—Ohio,
say, or Nebraska. He does not ask
who the girl in the red headscarf might be,
seen moving across his monitor
in what appears to be a courtyard filled
with trees, most likely lemon. She waters
a bed of eggplants with a plastic bottle
that could in his mind be a bomb
she plans to plant by the nearby roadside.
Crickets fill the air with their raspy chorus.
The operator can’t hear them, nor does he
know her scarf is red. He sees only
the flash of light on his screen, sees
an opened rose made of pieces of the girl’s house:
brick, rock, glass, iron, paper, threads
from her headscarf, seen on the screen
in various tones of gray and sepia,
a roiling miasma seeping outward
from the courtyard. When the last
chunk of mortar has fallen, the last
of the seared leaves flutters down,
the mist of lemons hovers in the air.