Winter 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1986 |

The History of the Wedge

In the brisk, pleasant voice of a surgeonintroducing his choice operationthe Air Force assured us how strictlyprofessional it is: Armament,radius, objective: each word neutralas a steel tool rinsed and drawn cleanfrom the Latin: a scalpel, a sterilized needle.And we watched the latest knife:five General Dynamics F-16'slike a five-card hand on the prowlcurve out over downtown Topeka and cut,break east with a spurt, a sharpblack smudge and they're off on a newvector, they are carving together,that whole hand is rolling overlike one moving card revolving itselfto flash all five spades at once,chased by the ragged mass of their roar,the heavy furniture they trundle behind thembeing hauled, torn over every rough floorin the sky, rolling over roofs, rippingand mending as the sixth svelte bladeclicks into formation, completingthat steadily traveling phalanx;and there in the hazy autumn skywe see this oldest formation of power,abstract force focused in one ghostlycapital letter: ∆. The id

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