Wednesday, August 30, 2006


When we doused our lamps and went to sleep the great ship was still moored at the dock. From the windows of our houses along the harborside, curtains pushed aside, we could make out its vastness against the backdrop of stars. The sailors came ashore to do what sailors do.

There was rain in the night and a bit of wind. But we slept soundly, accustomed to worse. Down a back street somewhere a loose shutter banged, untended, for a while, but its rhythms never entered our dreams, which were long, silent, and grey until at once dawn broke and we stretched our limbs and stepped outside.

A crowd had gathered at the water's edge. The ship had slipped away — nobody ever found out how. There was no sign of broken chains at the moorings. It had simply gone. With no pilot or captain to steer it back to land, we imagined the passengers far at sea, hushed along the rail, watching the water as the ship drifted on to parts unknown.

And now nobody sleeps well anymore.