Acockbill

by Pierce Nahigyan

It was a very old anchor was on the bow of the Lady Johanna. Morley, the cabin boy, liked to look at it when he got a moment away from Havish, the ship’s cook, who was always ordering him out of the hot kitchen to the quarterdeck or down below. Never still, never at rest was Morley, except when he stole away. He’d always be punished for it; still, a moment to himself was a minor blessing. True, he did not strictly have his time to himself to himself; with such a large ship there were always crewmen and mates scuttling around, swabbing the deck, spinning hemp, fastening lines. He did have time without orders, though, and it was that time that Havish said made him a piss-poor sailor.

Morley liked to look at the old anchor fastened to the cathead, her flukes bent acockbill like iron wings, and loved best watching her ascend from the sea when the men reeled her up to make way.