Cargo

by Bob Schwartz

For RJ and EB

They loaded all they owned, all life had collected, on a cargo ship. The ship crossed the Atlantic. Before it reached Liverpool, they stood on deck and one by one threw the items overboard. Big heavy things that sank immediately. Small light things that floated and stayed afloat as long as they could see. After they threw the last thing over, they embraced.

The captain was watching, concerned that they might be polluting the ocean, concerned that they might throw a crew member or themselves overboard. He asked why.

Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer.*

I do not speak French, the captain said.

And now you will never have to. What does that matter anyway? We wish to be married again. Will you perform the ceremony?

I would be pleased to, the captain said.

And so he did, with the Atlantic sky and the Atlantic sea as witnesses.

*Free man, you will always cherish the sea.
Charles Baudelaire, L’Homme et la Mer

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