Great White Fleet

White citadels melt into silhouettes.

Decks are fleece, big guns slimmed to flecks.

Their smoke thaws like frost warmed from a car’s window.

They array to view like harvesting combines.


Virginia wends across Panama,

Minnesota floats in Punta Arenas,

Maine rests at anchor in Yokohama,

Ohio in Suez, Kansas in Gibraltar.


Memories gauzed by so much white,

These clockwork specters, hardly intended

For battle, powdery blurs, each towing

Its empty thoughts behind, paired like lovers

On their grand stereoscopic divide,

Great instruments diminished to snow.

by Ernest Hilbert