Own Weather

In 2025 U.S. aerospace forces can “own the weather” . . . From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options.
—Colonel T. J. House et al. U.S. Air Force, Weather as a Force Multiplier (1996)

No breeze, no music,
here late in the progress
of the day. Indifferent

day. Sparrow fretting for
rain gathers grass and
seeds. Sparrow just

a spindly shape leaving

now as the unseasonable
cold front moves in low

the air show above the parade

last Independence Day

those sharp-nosed fighters—

that day I read a story
about cloud-seeding

an experiment they call
selective precipitation modification

how a drone disperses carbon dust in

air above lake to soak up sun

hotter vapor rises condenses

and falls as rain—falls
as not-rain—This delivery

method could also be used for precipitation suppression To deny fresh water or induce drought It offers tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible The tremendous capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril It is pertinent to all possible futures


That day I read it I
unread it trying to
push it back under
as a man dumping dirt

on new-bloomed phlox
sees it’s too
pink to hide pink’s
in his mind now

impertinent pink

—can’t focus on
that tall one’s
skinny shoulders

cold copper wire
almost blue and
possessed of

inner weather
inner resources
the first ancient
poem a prayer

for rain not love—
let go of your
climate down into

this ending now
badwind gusting
fast off the mountains

damp and angry
against the grass
against my face

Or look away from your page your trees don’t

follow the line your curiosity stops there at sky

white as a placebo     numb as a missile

also distant also entirely yours and you didn’t make it

even breaking dissembling disassembling sky

crack of lightning bone-hot your complete

dominance—yielding if you say so—if

describe—if dream of possession

Some segments of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather-modification dividing and indifferent blue

A car engine a driver

in sunglasses another
man handsome looks at

me   lonely   cloud    when
I do not move or

speak he does not stop

The last poem    an order for drought

Now even the centers
of the trees stir

a bird a common
whitethroat lets out

its high robotic call
(a tape fast-forwarding
through a love song)

and looks at me and
leaves. I almost feel

not yet. This rain
will be heavy as
(I will be still as)

the body of a wounded
soldier on his back
at Austerlitz

All is falsehood

Except that infinite sky

All is falsehood

Except that infinite sky

Still no rain.
How little time

passes this way.
That sparrow

is back already

just like before.
It should

know better

not yet.

From Your Face My Flag: Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2022).