In the Year of Our Lord 1921Aug. 2Two weeks out.This far norththe sun barely touches the horizonbefore 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. Aug. 13No fish.This morning we dragged upthe bloated corpse of a sea lion.The first mate stared long at its bodybefore he decided that it was not a mermaidand we threw it back overboard. Aug. 23The 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,kelson creaking,and the first mate leaning on the wheel.He mumbles foreign namesand stomps his heavy boots on the deckto keep us awake.We have not slept for weeks.The wind is
Abal: Before the Sun i. IslandMorning here is a brightly lit kitchenwhere a redheaded womandrinks black coffee and smokes by the window,half asleep but eyes openfor the mail boat and for the sun.Her lips taste like salt.Things are less real out here;the walls move with the windand light shoots out from the window to the mainland, where men live, and farther:to where the sea is distant and the memory of heris worth no less than everything. ii. MainlandMen drown hereat night.They wake up hours later in soaked sheets,their lungs still raw with salt.She knows they're out there,waiting for that one mistake a misspoken word, a movement too much or too soon
All this useless beauty^23 ( >^5 ( >^10 ( >1 ^1- ^"0"+ .