Ellis Island (An Excerpt)

By George Perec

How did all these people
eat, wash, go to sleep, dress?

It doesn’t mean anything, to want
to make these images talk, to force
them to say what they wouldn’t know
how to say.

At first, one can only try
to name things, one
by one, flatly.
to enumerate them
in the most banal possible way
in the most precise possible
in trying not to forget

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