I knew what a vise was

but not the word for it in Dutch.

Still, I figured I’d find whatever it was

“on the work bench

on the third floor,

just under the roof.”

I knew I was looking for

something with a screw.

Piet wanted it to fix a clock.

Not a big clock,

a little clock.

A travel alarm,

like what my Grandma would’ve had

in the ’80’s.

It was a gift from an aunt

and the winder was off.

But first I had to find that screw.

Sentimental ditty about a rock-solid someone

I thought I’d visit my neighbor

instead of myself. I’d seen him sitting there

many a time, in the window,

bent over his lunch. And yes,

Come in, he said, I see you go by.

What’s gone by in him is 92 years,

51 of which were spent playing


in the Utrecht City Orchestra.

In the war they stuck him

in a German munitions factory,

where the Poles and the French and the Dutch

were all saboteurs,

and the boss, a German,

was a pretty good guy.

This neighbor, Piet,

has pictures of the boss’s daughter.

He’s lived in that house for 60 years.

He’s got an open leg

and can’t go out. But he’s

sweet as sunshine,

shining while we make our way.