All my life I've been a passanger on a great wooden galleon, traversing the sea by way of massive rectangular sails. The waves are mighty, and the sun is strong.
The other passangers shout to each other over the crash of ocean water and groan of wooden hull, and though I strain to listen, I sometimes find it hard to care. What could any of us possibly see from down here? Land? We left land a long time ago. In my dreams the angels say it has been eight generations since the last of us touched solid rock. The weeping bundle in my sister's arms will one day say it has been nine.
At night I wander along the deck, the only one awake for the eight-hour calm. There are always shadows somewhere up in the rigging of the sails. Those shadows are only ever whispering, and I listen with great thankfulness for the still water. I hear things, grand stories from an above-the-clouds perspective. They see so much, they can flay any of our petty ideas down to the bone. Those shadows have sharp eyes, sharp teeth, and telescopes. I squint up at them and imagine they notice me here. At dawn they fly away, just as the waves awaken to batter us once more.
These are not sermons, but I do not know what they are.
My mother once went to hear them, when I was too tired to stay awake. The next morning she was exactly the same as she'd always been, though I swear she seems to listen more keenly during the day, leaning this way and that to hear the many voices on the deck. She attempts to triangulate the truth, tries to weave loose hairs into something worthwhile.
At night I gaze up at the sail rigs, imagining that the nets will bring the stars down where I can see them. Imagining I could climb up and touch the speckled sky.