I’ve been learning some new speak
American Street Sign Language
The questioning hands of lost sheep
Point left, look right. Turn back.
Moved to Amsterdam
Just shy of her red lights.
I am learning the language
Of bodies working the day shift.
To curve around their accent
With the sunlight, while it still shines
In on them.
It’s a glow far less flattering.
I have learned to speak with my palms
To slap my own wrists.
Not, victim. Not, poor thing,
Say human, say woman.
Say, K—— new friend and biology student.
Perhaps. the oldest profession could close the wage gap.
Dinner parties and leftover bread pudding.
I have learned to quiet the stutter
Of my double take
To look, don’t touch.
To make contact with the gaze
I will not birth.
All my mother’s worries
Moved in to my ground floor apartment.
They put up grey curtains.
I come from America.
Where the first floor is numbered 1.
Here, it is zero.
Here, you begin with nothing.
With ground and sidewalk and windows.
With the rain kicked in at you.
In Amsterdam, window shopping
Has a flair for the literal.
For the uncanny mannequin.