Lancaster

Silver birds slumbering in the fields
shadows in the oh-four-hundred hour dark
hidden figures move obscurely in the soup
predawn mist rising from matted grass
fear condensing silent with every breath
adjusting straps like harness tack
buckles cold in fumbling hands
and one minute for a final cigarette
a tiny coal burning with dry bile aftertaste
a single spark in the leaden gloom.

With the rising drone of a hornet horde
vibration passing through metal hulls
a tremor that can be felt in tired bones
the field is lit with a single Very light
casting contrast across faces tense
jaw clenched lips white eyes wide
and with a lurch the buzzard awakes
wobbling ungainly in the mud
before gradually gathering
momentum carrying
forward and sickeningly
impelling us towards the sky.

Steel racks laden heavy with death
every incendiary bearing unknown names
a swarm of hundreds alike and yet so remote
and one last long glace back towards home.

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