Below Sea Level

"Rot", says my dictionary, means "muddy".
"A" means water, this I found surprising. "Rotta",
then, is "muddy water", and "Dam" is obvious.
Rotterdam is a dam, therefore, on muddy waters.

Water everywhere. Water all around. I shall
spend the spring of 2014 in this liquid city
much of which lies well below sea level.
I shall go for long walks by the waters,

and seek answers to simple questions:
Am I more out of place here or in Istanbul?
Why am I more at home on water than when
I have both feet planted firmly on some land?
And why, on the threshold of turning sixty,
do I still expect these questions to be answered?

by Roni Margulies

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