Ready to Jump
Crowded into the ribs
of their flying ship, backbones
invisible, paratroopers align, hooked
to a spine, fixed to the ship's ribs, ready
to jump when the green light looks
them in the eyes. The green light sees
resolution and fear, frozen
in boys secretly hoping
for their mother’s protection.
The rear line fades into the shadows
of the ship’s innards, where eyes shine
from darkness, remembering
Bunker Hill and the call
of a nation. There is no turning back.
The green light blinks.
They are gone.
They are gone into a wilderness
only war can imagine.
After the World War II poster by Phillip Guston
Charles Trimberger is a retired psychotherapist. His writing continues his interest in helping readers to live within a poem. His poem “Ready to Jump” is inspired by a World War II poster by Phillip Guston, which Trimberger observed at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The poster expresses the courage, fear, and patriotism of American paratroopers as they prepare to make the leap into combat. Trimberger lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.