The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 40

The boat rocks, rocks, rocks and bones rattle against bones and undrinkable, unthinkable liquid covering the floor sloshes back and forth. Papa said this part of the boat is called the "hold," which seems right because it feels like being held, tightly, to the chest of someone who hasn't slept, eaten or drunk properly for months. The back and forth feels like a hot, hard, and stinky mother rocking me to sleep, and at first it made me vomit until there was nothing left to bring up, and now it just keeps me in the purgatory between the nightmare of awake and the nightmare of asleep.

I don’t know if I’m ever all the way awake anymore, and I know this mother doesn’t rock out of love for me. She is a selfish mother. A careless mother. Holding, without care. Back and forth and back and forth, sloshing and crying and sickening and holding. I want her to let go.

I want to stand up straight and see the sunshine or even just my hand in front of my face. It's too dark in here for that — it's been dark forever, it feels like. Dark like I've never seen or felt before. I don't care anymore about free. I don't care about safe or happy. I just want to stop holding.