Boys in the Sky

by Em Power

This was just like school. All those boys
and bright eyes and dimpled faces.
Sometimes the tedium came close
to killing him. Perhaps this was
just the disappointment that came
with being ripped from emerald
Winchester, its winnowing wind,
its ceaseless warm summer evenings.
Perhaps one can only cope with
adolescent boys for so long,
all those pale, elongated limbs
jostling each other like the
pages of a yellow book of
poems.
There were moments where his boredom
dissipated, floated into
the endless azure and joint the
clouds along with his panting breath.
It was dreamlike in a twisted
way. Of course, the dead eyed stares of
his superiors and the scrape
of cutlery on tin trays had
come to make his skin crawl. But here
in the air he was limitless.
There was only the elements
and tiny features far below, the
dollhouse buildings, the stretches
of green, the black roses blooming
beneath.
Oh. Something guttural sounds in
the back of his throat. He presses
twitchy fingers to the glass and
listens as their lilting German
is devoured by ash, like
all that Wordsworth he consumed
fervently back in his starch pressed
uniform. He’s still in a starch
pressed uniform. Watching nature
bastardized by all those red brick
structures in turn bastardized by
scorching fire. He jolts awake all
red burning skin and panting breaths.
He would prefer to be running
into the flames himself, he thinks,
to inbreathe the hot black nothing
than to have to live with this guilt
realised.