In Istanbul I met a blushing guy
whose Turkish skin I knew from Amsterdam:
plagued by Dutch winters, meeker than a lamb
he came back to this airport each July.

He said, as we went in the same direction:
‘The Dutch regard this land as Oriental
but Arab tourists call it Occidental –
the Bosporus provides the intersection.’

While we were looking for a customs clerk, he
hang on to me like something from his past
while scorning Turkish vendors and exchangers

and side by side we passed the gates of Turkey
where threads of golden ages were amassed
“Goodbye” he said at last, for we were strangers.

Lennard van Rij