In the galley, my shackles clink as I rouse. They say the rest of the fleet is gone, destroyed. The bow slowly slices the horizon, and our synchronized oars obey the coxswain’s rhythmic commands: stroke, stroke.
The vessel lunges forward, forward. Our bodies move in unison, backward, counter to our progress.
The air smells of rot. Death has gone sour.
Our lungs huff and hum, and arms pull and legs push. The skin we shed is the grime that cakes in the creases of our throats and the crooks of our elbows. We never molt completely. Never down here.
The chains drag and swing, thud and clack. It becomes a dance, and I hear it in my sleep. It makes me sleepy.
Light peeks through a porthole. A point. It perks my pupils.
Your eyes used to be empty, too.
Eventually shadows fade, booming subsides, and we hear cheers on deck.
We keep rowing, rowing.
One thought on “Crew”
A vivid image of those on board a ship and the lives they lived…well said.