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Channel Esther: Syrian Refugees
by Esther Cohen
Photograph by Matthew Septimus
EVERY Super Bowl Sunday
I go to the movies with Bruce
but this year we both had other plans
still I walked over to his apartment
to have a drink before
met a man named Ahmed on the way.
“I am a Syrian refugee,” he said.
“I need your help. My four
children have no food. Help us,” he said.
“Where do you live?”
“Do you want to go there now?”
“I can’t but I’ll come another day.”
In my notebook he wrote
104 and Columbus as his address and then,
his children’s ages and I had ten dollars
in my wallet to give to him and we
said goodbye and I felt something
was wrong. But what?
Everyone I told this story to said
he was not who he said he was not
a Syrian refugee I believe he was
a man named Ahmed who needed ten dollars
and I had ten dollars to give to him.
Was there more?
Esther Cohen is arts consultant for Jewish Currents and writes a poem nearly every day at Facebook.
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.