Driving Up to Red Flag

Younger guys can fly the jets to Nellis,

you're a colonel,

and need your own car...


The wife says. a prospect of traffic jams

makes you exit west at Casa Grande.

But perhaps it's the way desert dream lightning

in the beautiful ache of wilderness,

that keeps you from driving on through Phoenix.


As this road becomes a dead reckoning,

Mark-82 bombs slam south behind you,

churning screen on Goldwater Bombing

Range and bantering the Gila Bend Mountains.

Storms make this valley too green to believe,

where tires carve dust that floats like a ghost ship

to lure your brow pensive as you drive north.


You direct your mind to tasks before you:

airspace blocks and radio frequencies,

forces' bed-down, and air tasking orders,

live- fire day for cluster munitions.


The Vegas skyline eclipses these thoughts.

You forget a child's foot can arm a mine.


Jeffrey Alfier