A sailor remembers the prayer position by Kate Garrett

Each day they sent us down on our knees
to holystone the decks: scrubbing boards
while the sun sloughed skin off our backs,
or rain thrashed round to drown us as we
sucked in water-logged breaths. The threat
of superiors’ boots never far from cracked
lips, we would spend these hours praying

for blasphemous things: a slip overboard
for the captain, a storm to wreck the ship,
capture by pirates. Death was the dream,
the way to freedom, but God will send us
the strangest saviours instead – a crew
of forty men offer us a choice: a ship
armed with eight cannons, Nassau bound.

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Kate Garrett is the author of several poetry books of varying lengths, most recently The saint of milk and flames (Rhythm & Bones Press, April 2019) and To Feed My Woodland Bones (Animal Heart Press, September 2019). Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, she moved to England 20 years ago, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a cat. More information about Kate and her work can be found here: www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

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