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The Captain

by Emily Chen

I sealed everything.

Glue things together, making every broke structure clear,

so people coming to see can experience

and clearly remember the shipwreck.

Scaled down 500 times in real size,

every speck on the steel frame,

every monstrous crease on the broken wooden

bars corroded by seawater is like a wrinkle on an old man's face,

telling every story of his experience.

Even the failures, setbacks, and wounds are so worthy of being remembered.

I am preserving all of them.

Not allowing the evanescence of worldly affairs

to slip away.

The people on deck, the shipwrecked, the survivors,

I didn't portray any of them.

No Jack,

Nor Rose.

The only mark they showed on me was

the deformed bow of the ship.

But for one man, I portrayed with all of my care.

For the the old man, the captain,

who died in wheelhouse,

and who was holding the rudder of the ship

in the last seconds

before the glass broke and the cold water rushed into his lungs

deprived him of his breath.

I put him and his story in a glass bottle.

Vacuumed so he wouldn't be weathered,

shielded, isolated from the outside world,

so the sea water that rushed

into the cockpit with the broken glass would not hurt him.

He was sacrificed with his beloved ship, his mission.

But his heart, his purity, should be preserved.


Emily Chen is a 10th grader from Shanghai, China. Her interests span literature, gender studies, and economics. She is committed to promoting gender equality and has posted some book reviews and creative writing through social networks. She likes to travel, listen to music, and paint pictures.


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