What We Saw #1: Flight by Josh MacLeod

This was before it was 51, just an area on a map,
desert lands and tumbleweeds and whispers of old dances.
The dry lake was a door, though closed long and before
mankind had risen to walk the world, to make
steps upon the sands. They came out of it that day,
groomed by alien hands and eyes, forged by gods
too inhuman for our minds to comprehend.

This was before we had gps and many other things,
when what we saw wasn’t cgi, when eyes
could still believe things seen were real.
They flew south for warmer climes, our planes
following close behind with thunder in the air.
To this day I don’t know how we did the things we did.
But orders were given and we obeyed, to do
what must be done
(we who are about to die
inside salute you.)
We banked and flew, not natural, but terrible for all that.
They had only nature, alien though it was,
and we had guns and bombs and fear and hate,
the things that make war grand.

Each one died and fell, and I’d like to say we wept,
but we had no time to spare for such,
and flew and flew and killed. They had fire
and claws and tails but numbers do not fail.
Where a few failed many followed, learning
from the dead: we fired and banked and twisted
turned and one by one they died, to fall
from the sky as meteors.
(angels falling down,
embrace unforgiving earth)
They crashed and burned, consumed by selves,
And we circled overhead, prepared for magic
and for wonders but seeing only scale and bones
as lifeblood leaked through shattered wings.