What is a Jewish Poem

Maybe today
I could begin every poem
maybe today
i’ll try to understand
what is what could be
how do we recognize
what in the world
is a Jewish poem
few days ago
small foreign man
came up to me on the subway.
Are you a Jew?
Rhetorical question he said.
I know you are
because I am too
a Jew who paints
other Jews and I know.
You have Jewish eyes.
A Jewish poem
not so easy
to recognize.
I am sitting
in Barnes and Noble
New York’s secular Jerusalem
Upper West Side
two recently purchased
books on my chair
Tim Parks, Jon Kabat Zinn
altogether Jewish
space place activity
man sitting next to me
Argentinian lapsed Catholic
he too has the Zinn book.
He says what he is is lapsed.
Not me. Nothing has lapsed
for me. My son Chilean birth
Armenian father Jewish mother
He’s a part Jewish poem. My
daughter in law’s niece
Khanye Ndaba half colored
half Zulu she sent me a
pre-Chanukah email. Can I be
an unorthodox Jew?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Me too.

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.

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