“Drone God” by Matt Hohner

Matt Hohner


The video is silent. The bomb smaller than a trenching
tool. It falls to the ambient sounds of your home,
the neighbors’ children playing outside in the street,
autumn birds calling to each other in the trees.
The bomb, adorned in blue and gold stripes, shrinks
towards two men in a foxhole curled close like twins
in a womb, colored in the drab palette of battle, the hue
and shade of the soil that will consume their bodies.
You are God, or what’s replaced Him, above it, watching
the bomb descend like a terrible word from your mouth,
like spittle. The bomb blasts inches from the men’s knees.
Debris kicks up towards your face hovering over the scene.
Dust shakes loose in a cloud from the ground surrounding
them. As the smoke clears, one man drags himself
out by an arm, legs kicking, faltering. The other lurches
and rises, fumbling in concussed stupor. Your last glimpse
of the men is the moment the end of the first man’s
left arm blossoms bright red where his hand used to be.
Outside your window, children laugh and squeal on scooters,
on skateboards, on bicycles. Steam creaks in the warming radiators.
A breeze shakes leaves loose from the trees, showering the children
in confetti of gold, umber, auburn, crimson under a cloudless sky.

from Poets Respond
October 23, 2022


Matt Hohner: “This poem responds to a tweet on October 19, 2022 by Kyiv Independent reporter Illia Ponomarenko, showing video of a drone’s-eye-view strike on a Russian position in Ukraine (video warning: graphic content). I’ve seen the term ‘God tier’ used in describing the Ukrainians’ use of drones in defense of their country. I’m not sure if it refers to the height from which their drones are operating, the point of view such a height offers, or the skill with which they have been using the drones with such deadly and effective results. How does one watch these brutal 30 seconds of video, just one tiny event in a tightly-contained, yet global war, then go about one’s day, without being changed?” (web)

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