Smoke, like an ink stain upon the clean page of the sky, rises from the steam ship’s chimney.

It flies free upon the breeze, languidly curling and reaching in any direction it pleases.

I look down, from the blue of the sky to the blue of the ocean.

What would it be like to heave myself over the rail and float freely on the tide? To feel the waves lap my skin, to feel the current buoy my back?

But the smoke is not free. It is a plaything of the wind: tossed callously from side to side. Caught in the dominion of a cruel master.

And the tide is not free, rising and falling to the tune of the military march beat out by the cosmos.

Just as I am not free. A prisoner to the forces of nature that toss the boat back and forth. A prisoner to the man who holds my shackles, like a lead on a dog.