Message in a Bottle
I don’t know why the pirates released me; there was chatter amongst the passengers that a witch was in our midst. Pirates are superstitious folk, perhaps they thought I would bring bad luck to them if they slit my throat, the way they did the one fellow who looked like he could fight. Maybe they thought I had a secret trick to communicate with ‘rescuers’, the mythical beings all captors dream of, even more than their captives do.
They didn’t cast me off in a lifeboat with provisions, no they chucked me overboard to lighten the skiff while we passed over a reef. There are lots of islands in the Andaman Sea for a pirate base.
There is rainwater and fruit from the sea: clams to pry open and fish wash up. I’ve tried to get a fire going – impossible as there is no dry wood. I could sacrifice this paper and bottle to get a smoulder burning, but I am a poet and somehow, writing is a more direct line to survival than fire is.
I was a poet. The Muse is not singing to me here, she doesn’t swim. There are angels dancing on the tops of waves, all gold and shimmer. They sweep towards me, arms outstretched and I reach to them, embracing seawater. I see visions of tall buildings, street lamps and buses. I heard a train conductor’s whistle calling ‘All Aboard’. I wake to hear babies crying and the sobs of my mother. Candles flicker at gatherings of my friends. They drink toasts to my memory and recite speeches about some forgotten sailor, a mad woman who would take on the world.
That was me.
The sea is a cruel land of insubstantial dreams and riches. In her benign frock she sparkles and enchants. In her tantrums she rages and tosses life aside.
I am smaller than one drop of the blood in her veins.