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Seivarden is ship now, and with her ungloved hands she counts my ribs. I remember this wonderment from when I was a ship. Struggling to comprehend the fragility, the ephemerality, of the human frame. The idea that something so small, so short-lived, could count itself unique—could feel unique, irreplaceable.

Seivarden is herself, too, and has her own sense of wonder as she runs her fingers down my body. She pauses on the leg that was ruined when I broke her fall from the bridge. Nothing, perhaps ever, has changed Seivarden as much as that moment, and what she believed—still believes—I did for her. For a long time, I felt I needed to make her understand what really happened. No longer. Now I think that she is probably entitled to her own perception of events. Her hands are warm, and I welcome her caress.

Later, I fall asleep inside the curve of Seivarden’s body. The curve of the ship surrounds us both.