"Kamikaze" starts by launching straight into its story. The poem focuses on a Japanese fighter pilot. The pilot was on a kamikaze mission—which meant he was supposed to fly his plane directly into his target, thereby causing maximum damage and killing himself in the process. This poem imagines the moment that he changed his mind—how he longed to stay alive, and the subsequent fall-out of that decision.
His tale is told by his daughter, who starts off as a character in the poem, but at several points seems to be identical with the poem's speaker. The poem can also be interpreted as a story the daughter told to the poem's unidentified speaker, who now retells that story to the reader. Before even looking at the specifics of the story, then, the pilot is already a distanced figure—foreshadowing the way that he will be disowned by his family for acting dishonorably.
So, to the story itself. The pilot departs on his mission at sunrise, packing light because, of course, he isn't supposed to come back:
Her father embarked at sunrise
with a flask of water, a samurai sword
in the cockpit ...
The assonance of various /aw/ and /ah/ sounds here gives the lines a methodical sound that suggests preparation. As yet, the pilot is committed to his mission. The samurai sword—a traditional Japanese weapon—symbolizes the pilot's heroism and honor in (imminent) death. His head is shaven, suggesting a kind of purity brought about by the fact that he is about to die.
The pilot's head is described as "full of powerful incantations." Incantations are like spells or affirmations, the kind of thoughts that the pilot has to keep telling himself to help him actually go through with the kamikaze mission, which goes against his natural survival instinct. This suggests there is an element of faith required. Perhaps the pilot puts this faith in the value of the mission—that it's actually worth dying in order to aid his country's war effort.
"Full" in line 4 alliterates with "fuel" in line 5:
full of powerful incantations
and enough fuel for a one-way
Both relate to things that the pilot needs for his mission (actual fuel and the metaphorical fuel of motivation and commitment). Here, the poem presents the pilot's journey in metaphorical terms. He is flying "into history," both because he is wrapped in historical events of epic proportion (WWII) and because he is literally about to become part of the past tense—he is about to become history himself. Additionally, every line in this stanza is enjambed, suggesting the continuity of a journey and also, perhaps, the pilot's restless state of mind.