Simon Brod
Stadionkade, Amsterdam

I.  15 July 2015, 7.45 a.m.

Today, right in the gap between breakfast and duty,
where stern-faced houses loom on either side,
a patch of sun emerges to embrace me
as I walk a narrow bridge across deep waters
whose face, dark and glassy as a mirror,
beckons, lets me peek through open windows,
glimpsing into life on upper floors

where a bird perched on the windowsill observes,
with an eye that pierces the skin of things and sees,
below on the water’s surface, the sky floating,
beyond it, looped in shadows and tangled weeds,
fish swim heedless circles, and here, lost
in reflection, stopping, turning, turning back,
in a garland of sunlight and, grinning stupidly, me.

II.  2 December 2016, 3:45 p.m.

Today the water’s murky, sediment-laden.
Detritus rises, floats, makes lazy circles.

Ripples criss-cross. Reflections are disturbed,
the world reduced to jagged broken lines.

There have been times the eye saw clear and deep.
Stilled, the surface mirrored trees and street signs,

showed cloudless days, people side by side,
friendly faces shining, mine among them.

But now I only see a restless churning,
angry mud stirred up, fallen leaves,

and faces twisted, crooked, pulled apart.
Mine must be there too, sunless, birdless,

somewhere. A hard rain starts. I turn to go.
The picture quakes. A shiver shakes my bones.