1720 c/o James Claffey

fled the tightening rope
Calico Jack spread the handkerchief on the wooden table, placed the melon, and with a single motion brought his sword down, splitting the fruit neatly in two. A born winner, his mother had declared when she delivered the lad in the kitchen of their Havana cottage. Chickens on duty pecked the dusty floor and attempted to steal the afterbirth. The midwife ran them out into the dusty street and sent one flying with a solid kick to its backside. In the moment of creation, his mother dreamed empires for her son, travels to the Orient, holds full of ginger and sweet lemons that grew on small trees, bright like fireflies in the dusk. She wanted him to see snow, to taste the ice-melt, and experience the frozen-in-time sensation of a strong woman’s love.

With his body torn and sectioned, he awaited his coronation with the equanimity of a doomed man. In the light from unnamed stars he sucked the melon dry of its juice. Not a man for guilt, nor a man for regret, he savored the sweetness, the memory of his cuckold bride a bitter, wincing pain in his abdomen. Stars split infinities, and the twitching of Time’s finger on the trigger, split the pirate’s life as sweetly as his own blade had divided the melon on the table. On a spaceship bound for planets far beyond the sun, he fled the tightening rope.