There are books here I have never read and rooms filled with memories I no longer know. At least the air stays fresh, even with the fires burning night and day. I don’t spend much time away from the Yard, but when the nighttime voices and singing die down, I find my way along the battered passages and pretend this is home.
I stand at the fire bowl and stare out of the stable of lasses that bob gently on the cold blue skin of the bay. Instinctively I reach my arms out of the low flame and start to rub my palms together in an easy way. It’s here that I realize my hands have turned the color of heavily oiled wooden planks and my skin is starting to bear marks like the deep grain of old trees. I stop, turn the backs of my hands to my face and follow the lines over large knuckles and down the backs of my wide and withered palms.
I have spent my every day lit hour, and many nights under the warm glow of bees wax, shaping these beautiful women sea masters. Now I am starting to feel tiny splinters of me falling away with each swing of the axe, and each turn of the awl.
My eyes have turned dark and daunting, like the tide just before dusk. My thinning hair dances about my face with the slightest breeze like the tops of the sea oats.
My back, once straight and tall like the finest mast is curling slowly like the length of the bow on the Elysium. My teeth rattle in my head like an anchor crashing into the soft sand of a lonesome beach.
I am becoming a ship of my own estate, fearing that while I may be no longer sea worthy I am alluring nonetheless. With that illusion held firm, I wander back to the Yard to find her waiting in the dark still of the hold.
My shirt is wrinkled, unkempt and stained in obvious contrast to the taught sails pulled across the breasts of my lover. She ignores the nature of my blouse, and encourages me to run my hands along her long dark lines with slow and firm strokes. Water caresses the finely honed edges of her torso and she creaks ever so softly under my feet as I pace along her deck. These are our moments, never to be shared with another.
Soon she will push away into the boiling sea, leaving but the imprint of her darkened silhouette against the orange sinking sun in my mind. But, I will still have the smell of her on my hands, the ache of her in my back and the shape of her in my heart.
This is my home; this is my prison.
This is the place that beautiful women are born to rule the mighty seas and their captains.
This is where I am their master, until they are taken by another and I am left to carve the next from the aged forest, piece by piece.