by Kevin Krause

I am dreaming of a life on the Herengracht,
rocked each night to sleep in the belly
of a houseboat moored to the side
of a quiet canal street, next to a pale girl
with pale hair as the pall of clouds breaks
at dawn to the sounds of bike bells
and a gentle drizzle. But little of such mornings
do I know. I confess,
I have never been on a houseboat,
nor have I gone woozy with the lapping
of waves against one's hull.
I have never been a man cast adrift
upon a useless craft, the chop of the sea unnavigable.
I have never returned after several weeks
only to drop to my knees and kiss the stubble
of the earth, nor has my stubble grazed
the cheek of a Dutch girl making her exit,
stepping from wobbling deck to cobbled path
into the wash of the smoked-out city.

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