Rhein-Main Airfield, December, 1944

The three of them stood, waiting, at dawn;
pilot, cryptographer, guard,
watching cloudy, dull-red fingers extend
over earth. Each was wrapped in a drab
green coat and cloaked in his thoughts.
Breath hung from their mouths and nostrils.

The pilot stared at the bloody sun,
uncomfortable with feet on ground.
The cryptographer leaned on a doorframe
cooly; his eyes half-hooded but wary.
The guard shifted from foot to foot, searched
his coat for a cigarette.

As he pulled out the pack his hand brushed
the page that lay heavy against his chest:
Make sure the code-man gets on the plane.
If attacked, do not let him be taken alive.