He Became Fond of Killing

He became fond
of killing. At first
queasy and light-
headed at the sight
of that distant work:
smoke and flames
and the tiny broken
bodies twisted
and inert in
the coming dawn.
But soon the good
soldiers in Operations
made him feel right
at home, made him
understand duty
and then he felt
like one of the boys
like in the locker room
after a hard-fought
victory in high school.
So it became easier
to unleash the power,
easier and easier
to choose the doomed
he’d say was as simple
as picking something
off a menu. The troops
got a good laugh out
of that one, back-slapping,
as he pushed the button,
grinning ear-to-ear.

He knew he’d once
promised dialogue
and peace but that was
before he knew the score,
before he knew what
men were supposed
to do. Besides this was
fun, watching through
the drone’s camera
the missile streaking

down through morning
clouds into the sleeping
village, joining the cheers,
high-fiving, when
the fireball blew
the chosen into the dust
of history. Sure, they’d
made mistakes. Some-
times whole families
of mistakes but at dinner,
admiring his girls, he
knew it was all worth it.

Paul Lojeski's poetry has appeared in journals and online. He’s also the author of the satiric novel, The Reverend Jimmy Pup. He lives with his wife and daughter in Port Jefferson, NY. Read other articles by Paul.