“What magnificent coordination. A ballet/on wheels. Impossible, but there it was/day after rainy day, not one collision.”
I went to Amsterdam when I was sixty-two,
old enough to let slip by my first opportunity
in over forty years to smoke marijuana legally.
Did I really want to be stoned in a strange city
in a foreign country where I knew no one?
Probably good dope, too, me in a cloud
wondering where my hotel was.
So I passed on that one, settled for a beer
in a bar across the street, feeling old.
But all these years later, I still remember
downtown streets filled with bicycles,
and almost every bike—I swear—ridden
by a lovely young Hollander, often
holding an open umbrella in one hand
and texting on a cell phone with the other.
What magnificent coordination. A ballet
on wheels. Impossible, but there it was
day after rainy day, not one collision.
I thought then, and still think now,
I wouldn’t mind being knocked down
and ridden over on a street in Amsterdam
by a lovely young woman on a bike.
My definition of Dutch Treat.
W. D. Ehrhart has authored or edited a number of collections of poetry and prose, most recently Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems and What We Can and Can’t Afford: Essays on Vietnam, Patriotism, and American Life, both from McFarland & Company, Inc. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Wales at Swansea and taught at The Haverford School in Pennsylvania from 2001 to 2019.