“Disengagement” by Cornelia Rohde

DisengagementHot tarmac burns my tires
on Nevada’s Route 15,
past rooms with covert screens
where men guide drones
above kill zones
in deserts, mountains, towns
of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.
After twelve hour shifts,
the pilots take this highway home,
give their kids popsicles,
play Star Wars’ Legos or
Nintendo games.

When my baby-faced
nephew visits his dad,
he drives this road too.
A genius in robotics,
he designs Predators
to blast homes of strangers;
Reapers to hover, hunt,
fire killer missiles.
We don’t talk about it.
We only say, “Please
pass the butter,”

our silence sinking
into the greater silence.


  1. quincy northrup

    can we scream “please pass the butter”? How to disengage after reading this!

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