At meditation this morning

I don’t usually go but morning meditation

is on the Big List the instructor

a woman with four children a pretzel body

said the word we will look at today

is Resistance.  Tell me what you think.  Room

full of people who knew one another

regulars a certain kind

of meditator mildly appealing familiar

thinnish good natured psychoanalyzed

I’m not sure why I spoke. Courage I said.

Resistance seems courageous. Easy to see what’s

wrong and harder to fight.   Warsaw. France. I gave

examples. Didn’t say 45.  The teacher was puzzled but

she smiled in the way of Nice Try. Anyone else

she said.  A woman who looked like she too could

become a pretzel  beautiful white hair said

I resist so much.  I fight myself.  There was the

agreement hum  the teacher gave her the Right Answer

nod and I wondered if I’d return  I hadn’t given

the answer she wanted and I remembered Noah

in middle school explaining students do best

who tell the teacher what she wants to hear

and I said well I hope that isn’t you.


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. Yes, they always want the right answer. Speaking of resistance, when I was about 12 or 13, in the youth movement, we had a socio-drama as if we were in the bunker in the Warsaw Ghetto, that’s 1943, and we were deciding whether to carry out a doomed rebellion against the Nazis. Definitely resistance. I said “we should try to go through the sewers to join the partisans outside the ghetto”. Wrong answer. Didn’t fit the historic, didactic lesson. The moderator shouted at me.

  2. I also thought France. I read “The Nightingale” Recently. But I understood the comment “I resist so much. I fight myself”. Inner turmoil. When I was a teacher the Right Answer student made my job easier, but the answer I didn’t expect was sometimes enlightening and broadened the discussion. One brave black boy asked me why the heroes of all the stories and films we discussed were white? At the time we were discussing American Literature. I pointed out heroes like Big Jim in Huck Finn and Big Sam in Gone with the Wind. His response: they were good guys, but they were slaves!

  3. Loved this, Esther. Yes, I know the blank looks when I’ve gotten carried away by my own history or experience, or some stirring events I thought were common knowledge…and realize too late that the people before me (especially young ones) have a whole context born of this minute or social media, and that there is not much awareness of yesterday or tomorrow, only now and me. Not judging, mind you; just makes me work harder especially with kids to impart some sense that good people have struggled for, well, forever.

  4. Seems like a very NYC style of meditation. Out here in CA we just close our eyes and attend our senses 🙂 Love your advice to Noah.

  5. Poor teacher had resistance to your answer. My students are often baffled by my questions because they can’t figure out what answer I’m looking for. They seem surprised that I ask them things because I genuinely want more information. They surprise me all the time and I sometimes think I should pay them because I learn so much. I also love what you told Noah. And I can’t help but notice what a response this wonderful poem has drawn. Thank you for this.

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