Marking Days

“The sea and I have never been at odds,” Rose mutters as she enters. She carries a bundle of burnt sticks.

Isaac knows she has been charring them over the galley fire. She often brings him Spanish oranges from Cook’s personal store. He suspects Cook knows her secret, hopes Cook’s interest is avuncular.

She kneels and scratches a hash mark into the planked wall of their cabin. Her accounting done, she tucks her remaining sticks away in her pack.


Her hair has begun to grow again. She is a russet-capped nereid, her limbs lean and strong, browned and freckled under her boy’s clothing. He rolls onto his side, puts aside the copy of Blake he borrowed from the captain of the Galatea.

“The sea is not your opponent, Rose.”

“So long as it lies between my daughter and I,” she says, her face level with his. Her eyes are the same endless gray as the rolling waves. “The score is 42 to naught in the sea’s favor.”


Prompt Two:Write a 33-333 word response using the third definition of the following word:

3 a : an account or reckoning originally kept by making marks on a tally
b : amount due : indebtedness

8 thoughts on “Marking Days

  1. I like the description of her eyes in this piece. Also, you have really done a great job capturing a certain cadence in their speaking that lets the reader know it’s a different time without overpowering their dialogue.

  2. Ohhh. I hope the cook is just wanting to be helpful, too, not expecting favors in return for kept secrets for the “Cabin boy”. I am a little confused by her saying that she and the sea have never been at odds and then them being at odds at the end. I wanted it to be either ‘ever at odds’ or ‘never at odds before’. That description of her eyes at the end packs a wallop!

  3. I love how a line at the beginning of a piece, picks up at the end. I loved every stanza and Angela is right, the cadence is good, right. You can feel her frustration with the situation. So descriptive, so rich in word and image, I loved it.

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