14 March 2016
I find myself, in my plush seat,
going farther and farther away,
sort of creatively visualizing
an epiphanic Frank Conroy-type moment
of my own, trying to see the hypnotist
and subjects and audience and ship
itself with the eyes of someone
not aboard, imagining the m. v. Nadir
right at this moment, all lit up
and steaming north, in the dark,
at night, with a strong west wind
pulling the moon backward through
a skein of clouds—the Nadir
a constellation, complexly aglow,
angelically white, festive, imperial.
Yes, this: it would look like
a floating palace to any poor soul
out here on the ocean at night, alone
in a dinghy, or not even in a dinghy
but simply and terribly floating,
treading water, out of sight of land.
From the final paragraph of David Foster Wallace's essay Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise, Harper's Magazine, January 1996. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.