Washing Underwear in Amsterdam

Joan Mcbride

The hotel will wash your underwear for a price
but the perfumed soapettes and
glassy sink will work.

The window is open and
singing from the canals is flowing in like a boozy breeze.
It is late on a Friday night and

while the underlings soak, I walk out
onto the balcony, where the carnival
has lit up the sky outshining

the red-light district with its discreet bollards
and overhead red neon. I can hear the screams
of the those on the amusement rides mixed

with the carolers on the canal.
A young guy adds a whimsy of vomit on a
footbridge and a horse drawn wagon

clops by amid the whir of bicycle wheels
at this late hour. Now there is
dancing in the street along the waterways

where there is no railing.
All to music from around the city
magnified by the canal waters.

I turn back to run soapy water through
the lacy panties, give the bra an extra swish
and hang to dry over the balcony railing.

The management will have a fit,
the concierge will call.
Maybe revelers will look up and admire
my additions to the festival –
a garland of lace and straps.
By morning, underwear air dried from
marijuana smoke and stung by song,
I’ll be ready to join the party.

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