What Happens After

I like the questions people ask. Here’s one. What happens after you post your poem.

What Happens After I Post My Poem

I like lists, although I
never make them, went through a time
it lasted for years where I would
pick up lists that strangers
left behind at the supermarket.
In their carts. I had a whole
big folder of them. Where are those
lists now? They are not filed.
I have no files.
And if I were to make a list now
what happens after I post my poem
I go upstairs and work on my
interminable novel a novel that is
no longer a novel but a collection
of stories, vaguely linked because now
the narrator is one person not many
many was too confusing, even for me

and what are the other things I’d like to do
that I don’t, almost never, not for
any good reason, the very long list
of what I don’t get to because I just don’t
an hour of yoga in the morning
maybe even meditation after or before
at least headlines in the major papers
read a while in one of the Big Books by my bed
then a long hike up a mountain (I have never
taken a long hike up a mountain but as long
as I am making this theoretical list
there it is) a letter to my Aunt Ruthie
she is 93 the last time I wrote her a letter
we were both much younger and then
I’d gather all the fresh fruits lying around
organic papayas and mangoes and blueberries too
into a juicer I do not have a juicer
organic papaya either I’ve got blueberries
because they were on sale at Price Chopper
and I would make a drink
that I wouldn’t call a Smoothie. Not ever.

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. Ah, well, I will try sometime -or probably not – to tell you /show you why taking long walks up tall mountains pleases me so. Not otherwise stirred to great physical exertion, for that exhilaration I am more than willing to become sore and spent, sweaty, bug – bitten, and blistered. Nothing compares.

  2. Speaking of making lists, I can’t resist telling this story. Abba Eban, the renowned former Israeli foreign minister was considered a master of the English language. Even when I was in the 5th grade in Brooklyn, I remember my English teacher telling us “listen to how the Israeli Ambassador to the UN speaks if you want to know how to speak good English”. Well, one day I happened to be at an event in Tel Aviv where Eban spoke from the podium. He left behind a piece of paper, and some of us filled with great curiosity went up to see what was on the page, to understand how Eban prepares for a speech. What did we discover? The shopping list that his wife Susy had prepared for him.

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