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This poem is taken from PN Review 23, Volume 8 Number 3, January - February 1982.

Four Poems Michael Hofmann

An ocean-liner. It's unclear whether it's a real one,
or just particulars from one of his many travel-brochures . . .
Naturally, his first production is concerned with
his luggage-an ode. He gives its weight (57 kilos),
and then details the contents. Many of the listed items
were verifiably in his possession at the time.
(He could have weighed them on his bathroom scales.)
Our attempted reconstruction of his trunk, though
obviously inadmissible as evidence, tallies closely
with his own specifications for both weight and bulk.
And-in striking contrast to previous 'expeditions'-
his packing on this occasion would seem to have been
careful and imaginative, with adequate preparations
made for the long sea-voyage. My own belief is that
he really went-but that doesn't belong here.
. . . There is nobody he knows on board, nothing to
...


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