by Blaise Cendrars

It is an antique carcass eaten up by rust
The engine repaired twenty times does not make
more than 7 to 8 knots
Besides to save expenses cinders and coal waste
are its only fuel
Makeshift sails are hoisted whenever there is
a fair wind
With his ruddy face his bushy eyebrows his pimply nose
Master Hopkins is a true sailor
Small silver rings hang from his pierced ears
The ship’s cargo is exclusively coffins of Chinese
who died in America and wished to be buried
in their homeland
Oblong boxes painted red and light blue or covered
with golden characters
Just the type of merchandise it is illegal to ship

from the French by Monique Chefdor


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