If I Were a Painter and I Am Not (County Route 20)

today’s painting would be wet green with birds but the birds

would not be visible. You’d hear them.  My neighbors who aren’t there any more

they’ve moved to Florida would return and I would paint them sitting near

their gorgeous silver barn, once full of books because they’d intended

to open a book store.  I’d  also replace my across the street neighbors from the Bronx,

Billy and Anne, who left this road a while ago

with their three kids for Albany so  their kids could play in a playground

and not just a big back yard. I  would paint them back.

And our good friend Alarik who died a while ago.  He’d be in his boat in my painting

riding along the Hudson and he’d be smiling.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. I simply love this piece. I went with you as you painted each person’s and birds’ story into the whole and was surprised by each little addition to their stories on the way. I like the “gorgeous silver barn” thinking of it in the painting as a touch of whimsy. Then ending with Alarik— “He’d be in his boat in my painting” not ending This piece moved like a river of time. This might be one of my favorite poems of all time. Thank you, Esther.

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