The Listener

Art by Esther Pollak

To be listened to when I am the listener always

To be listened to, reflectively

With the listener’s head nodding up and down, tilted to one side like mine

when I work to reach for others’ words to frame them in coherence and give them life.

“…but you, too, only listen for gain,” he said, my 18 year old son,

wise beyond his age,

flippant as only the very young can be, careless and unwittingly wounding…

“You only listen because they pay you to.”

Yes, that’s true, I know, but in my job as a paid listener,

I have reached beyond duty and have done more,

listened harder,

for longer,

kept quiet counsel,

and bore witness to the myriad nuances of language, the unspoken,

maybe a gesture, a look,

a silent pause, a moody glare, a tear welling in the corner of an eye, sadness in a smile…which no insurance contract will value.

I listen with my whole heart and soul,

to those who pay, and those who cannot, and all of those whom I feel invested in.

And therefore…the yearning, to be heard

Like I do…

Like I do,

like I do!

To have, too, what I do.

I yearn to be listened to.

SOURCEArt by Esther Pollak
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Mirel Adler is an Orthodox Jewish writer and Clinical Social Worker who lives in a small vibrant community in South Jersey with her 4 opinionated biological children and an assortment of chosen family members. She has a therapy practice which services Lakewood and Cherry Hill, specializing in helping families communicate well. Mirel actually has a husband who loves to cook, which frees her up to get into no end of adventures! Mirel writes and reads her original poetry as a spoken word artist who frequently performs at open mic events in South Jersey and Philadelphia.


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