I Didn’t Tell My Mother
. . . about my ride in this old plane,
like the bomber in which
her brother Dale lost his life
six decades earlier.
The B-25 rushes and roars down
much of the Des Moines runway, then lifts.
I tried to imagine Dale Wilson
in the cockpit, age 22, the copilot. . .
Aloft, engines clatter in the wind.
. . . his last mission, his thirteenth, over
the jagged Owen Stanley Mountains,
the jungles of New Guinea,
and the antiaircraft guns of Wewak,
the town named on the telegram
that would echo down long decades. . . .
The Mitchell bomber turns, growling
over Madison County farms and fields.
Too soon wheels grind down,
engines grumble lower.
. . . for the families of six young men
whose timelines on this earth
were severed when Bomber #4889
became their underwater coffin.
Tires scrunch and screech
against the tarmac,
spewing rubbery smoke
through empty windows.
This is the anniversary of the loss of Dale Wilson and five others on a mission