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Outside the Anne Frank House


The line is long, so long
it bends at the corner
like starlight in a telescope,
wrapping around the block.
Committed but restless, we
bend knees, shift weight
from foot to foot. People
talk in the little clusters
they came with. This is not
a place where a stranger
would think to turn and say
something to a stranger.
A few clusters leave. All
of a sudden they decided
they would rather be
somewhere that isn't here,
and that's where they go.
The line lurches forward.
Somewhere in the museum
they have built to house it
is the house itself. I love it
already, its bricks, its wood,
the very woods and mountains
its materials came from.
It is still doing what it has
always done: take people in.
A cold wind blows down
the Prinsegracht canal.
People unzip their bags,
pull coats out by the sleeve.
The couple in front of me
leave. I watch them turn
to one another and agree.
It isn’t worth the wait,
their eyes seem to say.
They’ll find a café,
come some other time.
I stay. I shuffle forward
with the others, thinking
of all the lines we form
on earth and what for.
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