Poetry: This Is No Drill | clivejames.com
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This Is No Drill

Out on my singing teacher’s patio
While waiting for my lesson, I sat smoking,
And on the flag-stone about three feet from my chair
A scoop of bird shit suddenly appeared.
It looked like a nouvelle cuisine hors d’oeuvre,
A brown-green snail-pulp dollop on a bed
Of mascarpone hardening to meringue
As I watched, stupefied. I searched the sky
And there was nothing. Clean sweep. Been and gone.
So high up that it flies with the U-2s
And sees the Earth’s curve, this bird calculates
Trajectories with so much to factor in –
Cloud density, speed, height, wind over target –
The wonder is it didn’t miss by miles.
Instead, the point of impact was so close
The shock wave took the air out of my lungs.
Inside the house I croaked scales, and remembered
That day in the Piazza Santa Croce –
It must be thirty years back, maybe more –
When I got taken out by such a load
I felt the weight, and had to sit around
While the gunk dried on my brand new jacket. Why
These sneak attacks? We give them enough aid.
At least Prometheus and Tippi Hedren
Could see them coming. This is something else.
What do they want, a seat at the UN?
And no use asking if I would have died
Had this one nailed me. When a man is bald
And soon to face an aria from Tosca,
It’s not as if he needs a pile of crap
Dumped on his head from fifty thousand feet
By some Stealth fowl. And spare me the assurance
That it wipes off. I didn’t sign on for this.