U 244

Alan Ross

Anticipating our zigzag, as if somehow
By information or low

Cunning, she knew our speed
And course, she contrived a need

For company. She came at us
From all angles, silently, without fuss,

A whine on the asdic, homing in.
We readied depth charges, prepared

Our tin fish. She moved away,
Out of the sea’s swing and sway,

As if hurt, a rebuffed lover,
Whose hide-and-seek was over.

We never fired, nor she either,
Her hull like wet liquorice slipping

Fathoms below us, her bleeping
A reminder like the weather

Of death’s attention. In dreams
Her name haunts me sometimes.

‘You, too,’ a familiar that rhymes
With everything, except what it seems.