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Anchor: The Song of a Sunken Ship


On the bottom of an old lagoon, vacant for decades, lays the skeleton of an old sunken ship. The remains of the mossy mast is occasionally visible through the murky water on clear days. This deteriorating relic from another time lives only in the memories of a few locals. Hearing these stories fed a curiosity of intangible pasts. I felt empathy towards this sunken ship. While navigating the territory of personal loss and emotional attachments in my own life, I built a ball and chain to embody my self-created attachments, and self-inflicted pain. I titled this piece “Anchor: the Song of a Sunken Ship” because of the connection that I felt with this defeated remnant of something once so free. The ball and chain begged to be worn, but any such burden will desire release. Standing barefoot in the grass at the far end of the meadow leading down to the lagoon, I fastened the cold steel shackle to my naked right ankle. With my walk restricted by the hard steel nipping at my bony ankle, I walked slowly towards the lagoon. The shore was sandy, and with every step, the water gradually rose up around my body. Then I was swimming. It was a slow and labored swim, almost one legged. And, it wasn’t the weight of the ball that slowed me, but the bite of the hard steel against my skin. I reached the middle of the lagoon where it was deep enough to swallow up a ship. I stopped. Sinking down I reached for bolt which was holding the steel jaws to my ankle. Time seemed to stand still but I was falling. I kicked hard, no longer aware of the pain, and breaching the surface I gasped a chest full of air and sunk right back down to my ankle. Urgently pulling the bolt clean I shook the shackle from my ankle. As I rose to the surface, I could imagine the anchor still sinking into the darkness. Forever obscured from sight, it would rust away to nothingness at the bottom of that lagoon. Swimming to the shore, I felt a sense of relief, a kind of letting go.  

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