Motion on the Ocean


There is something extraordinary about sleeping on the sea, held safe in the belly of the ship. I sleep deep down in the dark, in my cabin next to the engine room, that beating, clanking, thumping heart. I feel like I am curled up in the thoracic cavity of a mighty leviathan, a sea beast that could choose to dive back down to the depths at any moment.

There is so much space beneath us, mile upon mile of water and dark.

The waves feel like the beast breathing – rising on a vast inhalation, falling down on an exhalation – rocked by a deep, slow rhythm.

The waves are soft, now. We’ve had good weather. During the day, my legs and the muscles of my belly fire and swerve to keep me upright, a rolling dance of compensation for a gravitational force that has suddenly turned as capricious as some old Hellenic deity. I try to move with it, but I am clumsy with these steps, and I end up fighting it half the time.

At night, I go limp, and I let the movement take me; and take me it does. It throws me up (softly, softly) and my weight lessens on the mattress, ever so slightly; then I fall, and press more deeply, and it catches me once again. The dance goes on, and on, and in between the steps of it, I feel like I am swimming, or flying.

It is like lying down in a dream.




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