07 August, 1943:  U-84, After Her Disappearance in the Caribbean Sea – Paul David Adkins

High Command never issued
orders, what to do
when a U-boat plunked to the seafloor
four hundred fathoms down,
when the captain knew chlorine gas
would yellow and crumple
his crew’s lungs
like old newspaper.

Eins   Zwei

When the hollow
of their boat echoed
like a tubercular ward,
when they lolled
on The Tongue of The Ocean,
a black pill to be swallowed,
their rivets popping from pressure.

Sieben   Acht

They never said.
The captain pulled his Lugar
stowed beneath his bunk,
loaded bullet
after bullet
for his men.

Fuenf und Zwanzig

He trolled the length of the boat
with a lantern, counting,
reloading as his footfalls
creaked on the metal deck.

Vier und Dreizig    

His first mate followed
with a sidearm and clipboard, crossing names
through.

Vierzig*

Until they heard only
casings scurry along the buckling deck,
and their own lungs filling
as they raised
their pistols
to count down
a final time.

* German numbers one, two, seven, eight, 25, 34 and 40

Paul David Adkins lives in New York and works as a counselor.

5 thoughts on “07 August, 1943:  U-84, After Her Disappearance in the Caribbean Sea – Paul David Adkins

  1. Pingback: The Power of Words: A Selection of Poetry from 2016 |

  2. Thank you for sharing Paul. I didn’t know of this so I will be researching. I’m sure the Germans kept good records! Ha, ha! Loved your poem!

    Like

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