Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 4, December 2011



William M. Ramsey
Florence, South Carolina, USA

 

U-Boat

I have found the afterlife. It is silt and torpid current where nights are only slightly darker than the days, where blue and yellow fish inspect these chambers, kissing my emptiness. I have grown very cold inside.

They assembled me with pride by the Baltic Sea. In 1942, across the Atlantic, I sank one tanker and three freighters. The elation was mechanical—the churn of pistons, the swiveling of periscope, the greased turning of gears and shaft. I went down with engines out in high seas, off North Carolina, the roiled waters choking quickly our shocked moans.

Enter now through this hatch. First adjust your buoyancy. Yes, bring light and line. Don't snag your tank or hose on that bulkhead rip. Observe the vacancy of these bays and beds. Down this corridor, in the galley, plankton dine in silence. Come further, yes. In the navigation room, to your left, the maps and charts have vanished.

See that spider crab with black and spindly legs . . . . It is my Fuhrer.

Take my story with you, if you wish. Go now. Go live out your little life until your little death. Know that all is oceanic.

I have performed the striptease of ego, hate, and power.

Ascend with care. Not too fast. Don't hold the breath. For it is in time, not out of it, that you must now progress.

fired
from torpedo tubes
sluggish fins


First published in Contemporary Haibun Online V1, N1 (June 2005).

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