The Christmas Drone by Steve Nickman

Dec 25, 2023 | Bubbler

My son bought himself an early
Christmas present. In the cold sunny graveyard
near my condo he unpacked his drone,
an unthreatening gray plastic box
no bigger than a bible, with four
innocent legs. He set it down on the path,
attached his cell phone to its remote
to show us what its camera saw, set it
in motion. Its legs turned into whirring wings.

He sent it above pines and maples, past red-tailed
hawks. We saw clearly on the screen the beaver
emblem, high on a cupola, of a private school
half a mile away. We saw the roofs,
the tennis courts, drained swimming pools,
the Tudor mansions.

What a reconnoiterer, my son, what an Afghan
falconer, calling his bird back with a button.
It was a speck in the sky and then descended,
hummed, settled at our feet
like a proud puppy.

My son was proud he’d shown me his drone
and I was glad I’d left alone
all our old arguments and silences
about politics, gun laws, climate change.
It was his toy. A drone.

Steve Nickman’s poetry collection, To Sleep with Bears is now available from Wordtech (2022). He is a psychiatrist who works mainly with kids, teenagers and young adults. He has a strong interest in the experiences and dilemmas of adoptees and their families, and is working on a book about therapy, The Wound and the Spark. Steve’s poetry has recently appeared in PleiadesNimrodSummerset ReviewTar River ReviewTule Review, and JuxtaProse. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts and is a member of Poemworks: The Workshop for Publishing Poets.