Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

with lines from “My Western Home” by Dr. Brewster M. Higley, 1872

With the swivel of a controller
an agent in a room of laced
concrete blocks is haunted
by bovine hitting their bulk

against steel bollards.
Lidar: Pulsed light shot 
from miles overhead
to capture the mundane. 

It’s true, a man
is haunted by bovine
through a screen and laughs
at his own haunting. 

Most lidar paints a picture
in fluorescence of animals
roaming. The agent 
is in a city faraway 

from all he surveils. He sings
to the pinks, blues, and greens
on his screen: Oh give me a home
where the bovine do roam

and the skies are not 
cloudy all day.
The agent
enjoys days like this, when
the desert is a congress

of ghosts on a screen
not a diaspora of men 
and women filled
with thirst. The red man

was pressed from this part
of the west, it’s not likely
he’ll ever return.
The agent
opens a bottle of water 

and takes a long drink. 
Where seldom is heard
a discouraging word
and the skies are not

cloudy all day. The agent
throws the half empty bottle
in a plastic lined trashcan.
He glides his sUA down

the edge of his assigned piece
of geofencing and breaks the screen
with a pixelated image of a palo verde
that spans the width of the sun.