Literary Art

Jarrod Pine

Distant Strangers

I am not acquainted with the refugee experience.

I am not

A parent fleeing from their war-torn hometown with their children,

Hoping to find safety, a warm room, food.

An orphan, growing up within the thin walls of a refugee camp,

Looking toward the sky, envious of the birds that fly so freely.

A farmer, forced to find work in a foreign land, devastated that

The weather was too arid, the soil too cracked, the climate too hostile with every passing year.

I am not acquainted with the refugee experience.

I am

A white man, born and raised in Long Island,

Hoping to find work in the city one day, a nice apartment, a favorite restaurant.

A college student, living among friends,

Looking toward the sky, enjoying the sunlight for no reason other than to exist care-free.

An American, forced to find work in a job I may not immediately enjoy, hopeful that

My 20s are as enjoyable as they make it seem in sitcoms, my salary enough to afford

An enjoyable vacation once in a while.

A tale of two distant strangers, a tale of two humans–

As I live my life, others scrape by. If the roles reversed, just for one day,

Would I survive?