I look into your face, see the furrows in your brow, the pain in your eyes and I think to myself, “I know your story. Oppression brought you here. The red lines sealed your fate.”
I know your story.
I know the facts. Historical.
The statistics. Mathmatical.
The trauma. Psychological.
I know your story, well kind of.
I read books about you. Like a good progressive. I understand! I think I understand better than you.
But I never stop to ask, “How are you?”
I see your pain. But I do not inquire.
I am afraid. I will lose my knowledge, my ego, my power.
I am afraid. Will your pain engulf me?
I am afraid. I am, after all, complicit.
My power comes from your powerlessness.
And here I am staring at the pain in your eyes, thinking to myself, “I know your story.”
I don’t know your story, not really.
Holy one, Blessed are you, give me the power. Give me the humility to begin, to simply ask, “tell me…”
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).