A Pentagon Official Drafts A Condolence Letter
By Tom Daley

[Her tomboy taunts all stilled.] No note of praise
that I might shape could lull your shock or gloom.
Your daughter fell [to find the End of Days.
She christens Armageddon with her wounds.

She cooled to mercy under desert rain.
She gave no cry. How could she, ambushed so?
We know she died before a slingshot pain
afforded her the spur [and grace] to show

a courage pledged in camaraderie.
[If thin mistakes have tipped her towards her doom,
they will not hedge her death’s audacity.
The fanatic, from whose belt ball bearings [bloomed,

conceived no more or less of hope than she.
Their end adheres our time to time’s mortality.]

Tom Daley has poems published or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including Fence, Diagram, Barrow Street, Massachusetts Review, In Posse Review, Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems and Poetry Ireland Review, and has been anthologized in Hacks: The Grub Street Anthology, Unlocking the Poem, and the Poets for Haiti anthology. He is a past recipient of the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Academy of American Poets poetry prize. His manuscript, Shim, was a finalist in The Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award.