Two weeks out.
This far north
the sun barely touches the horizon
before it rises again.
No wind now for three days.
We have not seen the skipper since friday night,
but we can hear him screaming from his cabin:
"The sea has many gods!"
The sea is oddly calm;
his voice carries for miles.
This morning we dragged up
the bloated corpse of a sea lion.
The first mate stared long at its body
before he decided that it was not a mermaid
and we threw it back overboard.
The holds are empty still;
our nets drag useless behind us.
Cook says he hears bells in the distance.
He has been drunk for days.
The galley smells like stale bread and trench-death.
The skipper has gone silent now;
there is only waves against the keel,
and the first mate leaning on the wheel.
He mumbles foreign names
and stomps his heavy boots on the deck
to keep us awake.
We have not slept for weeks.
The wind is