by Esther Cohen




Some people

I am one of them

want to know everything

even when it is absolutely

none of my business want to know why

tea party woman across the street

we only said hello once or twice

she said a weather sentence

hot or cold was more or less it

I want to know why she

left her husband about whom

I know absolutely nothing his name is George

he does something with trucks.


Some people why are we like this

I was born listening to Julia C. Steele

my next door neighbor

in the small factory town

where I grew up

she was a librarian she was having

an affair with a married woman

this was a long time ago

and they seemed happy

I didn’t know what an affair was

But I knew they seemed happy

married woman

Was a fifth grade teacher

my father went to grammar school

with her and when I told him

what was happening how did I even

know he said Don’t Be Crazy

went back to reading

The New York Times

which he didn’t think

was crazy at all.


One day a few years later

Julia C. Steele ran away

With the fifth grade teacher

actually got in a car and drove

away they didn’t say goodbye

they didn’t come back and my father

a kind man a serious man

I loved my father said to me

because I was sitting on the porch

I knew they were leaving

wanted to see them go

why are they leaving he said

because they love one another

I told him. He was an

Un huh kind of man

So that’s what he said.


Esther Cohen is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents and works with the magazine as arts and public events consultant. Her books include Book Doctor, a novel, and Unseen America: Photos and Stories by Workers, among others.