Airman

November 18, 2010
By Anonymous

My mother's father
a stoic, but kindly man
lived with his head in the clouds
and the bombs he dropped, so long ago
dropped without a second thought

He flew into the black of night
alone, with only a bombardier
and the hum of the engines for company

he never spoke of war
or Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
just the feel of the engines lifting,
the wind buffeting,
ice sleeting joy of flying

past yellowed teeth and
over wheezing lungs
that gasp from breath
burned from smoking
and made harsh
from years upon years of
flying, ever and ever higher

scaring, shooting pain
that made his wizened face wince
he spoke,
and he coughed.
He smiled and his face contorted

my mother pulled me away saying
grandpa is very tired, its time to go
and I turned my face away as he said
fly away little one,
fly away

The author's comments:
My grandfather was a bomber pilot for a long time. He loved to fly, always talking about the feel and the freedom of it. This is just the story of one of the last times i saw him alive, when his years of smoking were finally catching up with him.

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