The poem’s epigraph is from a Fresh Air interview with Emily Anthes, author of Frankenstein’s Cat, where she talks about not-so-secret Pentagon projects to weaponize animals and turn bugs into tiny surveillance drones.
In the same week that I heard this interview, I met a guy who leads a poetry workshop for veterans. He told me that one of the writers in his group is a drone pilot who suffers from PTSD in a uniquely isolated way, at a distance from the other soldiers in the workshop who’d found an easy camaraderie sharing their experiences of “real” combat.
Those veterans seemed to disdain the drone pilot’s expressions of trauma because he’d executed his tasks at a safe remove — even though the lives at the end of those executions were, obviously, no less real. He constantly doubted the legitimacy of his stress and grief, which made it harder for him to move through it. Thankfully though, the workshop leader seemed to think the poetry was helping the man “have a dialog with his demons, rather than the demons doing all the talking.”
Well, maybe I’ve given the whole poem away at this point, but that’s where “Nano” came from. Read it HERE.
POETRY Magazine is my favorite monthly publication, and I’ve subscribed for years, so — psyched — I ordered, like, a billion contributor copies (shown below). They arrived right before last week’s blizzard.
Speaking of, I need to go outside now and shovel my driveway for the ninth time in seven days. Brrr…
… and cheers!