Watching

In another exhibit, you look through the periscope to see four crew-cut boys  with  joysticks,  inside a cube of blinking lights. They sit in front of a screen & watch a succession of deaths. Some of the deaths are only potential. Some are actual. Theirs is the machinery of actuation.

Beyond their base is the Mojave, with its wild burros and Joshua trees.  Inside, the pilots lean forward. The gloss of their eyes reflects foothills and gorges.  In another desert, the sky is full of lids opening. Each lid reveals an eye like the eye of god. Mothers usher their sons indoors.

The pilots argue over what is a child & what is a crouching man, what is a rifle & what is a warm spot where someone was sitting. They make a call.

On the drive home to their pools & young wives, they keep quiet. The desert goes by. The pilots put on their dark glasses & turn their radios  on  to  static,  then  off  again. The  mountains  rise  and  fall like sentences.

Emily Lawson is a 22-year-old writer based in Prescott, Arizona. Her poetry has been published in The Reader and The Lilith. She recently graduated from Hampshire College, where she studied creative writing and global intellectual history.

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