by Will Aitken
11 May 99

Phantom stutters and surges against her brakes.
Plane Captain clears her and taxis her forward.
Payload swaying underneath her wings.

Grunts wait in tall grass, all eyes and ears.
Phantom leaves the ground, soaring skyward with speed.
Grunts hunker down as the Phantom dives upon them.

Canisters fall and tumble to the ground,
     spraying liquid death upon all in its path.
Grunts rise and move forward,
     hoping all are dead but knowing different.
Phantom slices through the air, oblivious
     to the sound of men and metal clashing below.

*     *     *
The author: Enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1979.
MOS was 6014, F4 plane captain. From 1979-1988, was
with units VMFA-314, VMFA-321 and VMFA-212. Works now
as the manager of a plumbing company in northern Virginia,
and also as a writer, actor and director in theater and film.

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