Nieuwkoop, Zuid-Holland


Everyone steals. I’d just forgotten
the book in Dutch slipped
from its case, a Sunday Times
plucked from a snowbank,

lines of poems recited at dinner
as if they were mine, red
shoes, a strapless bra, people
annexed and discarded.

A friend’s mother traded
gold jewelry for potatoes,
rode her bike to the camp
where her husband the doctor

was held by Nazis. He was
released to her. She said she
stole him. Did she trade beauty,
blondeness? I spent a week

on her houseboat watching
the water. Women in wooden
shoes washed stoops as if the old
stories might somehow be true.

The women spoke Dutch to me.
I couldn’t answer. What’s this
in my hand? Red leaf I stole
from a maple. Iron ring.


HOUSEBOAT by Barbara Daniels



Photo used under CC.