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by Esther Cohen WHAT PLACE LOOKS LIKE Like this one of those villages doesn’t much change same kinds of problems what life looks like how life usually lived families, real messy, earning some kind of living or trying to. Food each week potatoes in ten pound bags onions too all in the basement if there is a basement supermarket bread. Weekenders New Yorkers they carry bread in the car. Some even take baking classes They say there’s no bread in upstate New York. Coffee either. Locals drink plenty of coffee. Outside inside. money college absolute assumptions. Amy Goodman Rupert Murdoch NPR and FOX. Both sides I know I’m right What is education? Firewood? Hannah Arendt? Can we have both? Self righteousness downfall of everyone they each know something big something small don’t tell one another difference breeds anger instead of curiosity white sugar versus agave as though one is closer to truth. Plumbers and architects. Taste stands in for taste. All just preference. Of course There are facts. But facts Aren’t Truth. Nearly everyone thinks their preferences significant. Me too. I like old doors better than Home Depot. But I know doors don’t matter much. Even a little. We all try. Some of us grow old. We go to supermarkets. We buy milk and eggs. Organic or not. Some tell us each choice a moral decision. All our houses continue breathing. Zucchini and tomatoes every summer If we are lucky. How we use them depends on the books we read. On the books we don’t read. On grandmothers. And what we remember. We try for pleasantries. Hot. Cold. Rain is expected. I heard a storm Will come. Not enough rain. Maybe tomorrow will be nicer. Years of survivals. People live here. People who give this place what life is. People whose lives whatever they are are real stories Esther Cohen’s books include God Is a Tree and Don’t Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies. She is the Jewish Currents arts and public events consultant.