Limped out of the hot sky a hurt plane,
Held off, held off, whirring pretty pigeon,
Hit then and scuttled to a crooked stop.
The stranger pilot who emergedthis was the seashore,
War came suddenly heretalked to the still mechanics
Who nodded gravely. Flak had done it, he said,
From an enemy ship attacked.
They wheeled it with love
Into the dark hangar’s mouth and tended it.
Coffee and cake for the pilot then who sat alone
In the restaurant, reading the numbered sheets
That tell about weather.
After, toward dusk,
Mended the stranger plane went back to the sky.
His curly-headed picture, and mother’s and medal’s pictures
Were all we knew of him after he rose again,
Those few electric jewels against the moth and whining sky.
William Meredith, “Navy Field” from Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1997 by William Meredith. Reprinted with the permission of the author and TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, http://nupress.northwestern.edu.
Source: Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems