It’s all top-secret and ever so strictly prohibited.
Making it a cert that this is where
Our heat-seeking darts have their arsenals.
This must be missile mission-control
– Where we go on raids from, with our allies –
It must be – where their stealthy wings
Steal into bunker-thick hangers at first light.
You can’t stop near its gates, wouldn’t
Really want to take a photo, even though
You could tell them you’re only a poet
Hoping to get a true-to-life but
Lyrical description of somewhere the size
Of a small county – bristling with hostility;
Fenced-in by razor-wire, shielded
From spooks, from crazies, but with a bright
Blue and red playground for toddlers
Within its compound. Here the sons and daughters
Of the military get to use the jungle gym
Which might be a target elsewhere, since the enemy
Are always doing that, burying weaponry beneath
Their slides and bouncy castles and so on.
Everything’s guarded by gimlet binoculars here:
Perhaps we’ve stashed some gear
Beneath that brightly spotted toadstool fortress.
from Silent Highway (Anvil Press Poetry, 2014), © Anthony Howell 2014, used by permission of the author and the publisher