Two B-52s Overhead

Wendell Hawken

Training flights to Martinsburg as if the past,
Low and loud, never left
The same gray bird perched on the chimney
Twilight after twilight
Singing of its day
As if the feeder had been seeded

The neighbor’s tractor working after dark
Headlights back and forth
Back and forth
The triangle the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn will
Make this one night
If clouds clear,
The dark here dark enough to see

As cops close in,
Black kids marching at the front
Call out White shield, White shield,
And white kids surge forward
To take their place, knowing, dark or light,
Cops not as rough on white
The color not a color, more than color

A Washington DC native, Wendell Hawken (she/her) came to poetry late in life and earned her MFA in Poetry at Warren Wilson decades after her BA. Publications include three chapbooks and five full collections: The Luck of Being (2008;White Bird (2017) a sequence about her husband’s battle with cancer; Stride for Stride: A Country Life (2020); After Ward (2022); and All About (2023). Hawken was recently named the Poet Laureate of Millwood, VA, a quirky unincorporated village in the northern Shenandoah Valley where she lives on a farm with two dogs, where the first meaning of AI is Artificial Insemination.

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