Free Translation of THE CRATE by Francis Ponge

by Lisa Sookraj

Comprised of planks connecting, intersecting, I am crate. Illiterate.

If I could read, and were I French, I'd find my name between cage and 'cachot' (prison) in the dictionary. What these two things have in common is enclosure. The impossibility of escape. I contain myself. Am a container, myself. Volatile contents restrained. Cageot: A simple box for transporting produce. Or other cargo. That needs to breathe, or else grow disease.

I need not comprehend French to know that crate is meant to be crushed. Once its duty is done. Living a less lengthy life than the items I cradle. From point A to point B or C. For me there is no point. There is no pay-off. This is inherent knowledge.

From hands to truck to hands to hands to trash. Shuffled, sorted and splintered. Briefly self-sustained. Then maimed. Tossed to the curb. Quickly. With finality. This existence leads to depression. A sad state, a sad fate. The bead of moisture most aren't aware wood can create.

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