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A ship is, by definition, something slipping out of fog, and

oddly more visible than a vessel less veiled. More shored in

dim windows, it’s more nuance and happenstance, as if more

of the story were buried in memory, and thus lit with it and

trembling. A ship is, in fact, the shape of memory itself, and,

remembering itself, suddenly thinks what a long way off it

seems, and yet at every slight lightening of the fog, it deflects

the thought and thus is still coming toward.

The fog extends into linguistics, making it difficult to say

whether it’s really a ship or more of a boat or a ferry or a yacht—

the ambiguity embeds, even enshrouds, and the woman in the

foreground shifts her shawl, thinking that all we are is largely

veiled, though it may be more apparent in seaports, where the

mist lifts the seawall that she’s sitting on—which turns out to

be a ferry after all, and already underway.

Ship

Cole Swensen


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translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Różycki