Seventy-Second Air Force

Lachlan Mackinnon

‘Kits’
are models
the word for transfers is decals
and six feet scale down to an inch.

All the pilots were six feet tall.
I dotted their faces flesh,
which is fifteen parts white
to one each of red and yellow.

They must be modern,
they must be military,
they were largely American. My best
were nothing like the real thing
I implored to be taken to
on open days.

Heyford and Alconbury,
Lakenheath, Mildenhall
and Bentwaters
with its air of refraction,

these were the names. And these,
Phantom, Intruder, Voodoo
– stob wings like a bird’s broken wings! –
withdrawn asthmatic passions
that could not
         tear these beauties from their purpose.