by Hamza Bilbeisi
"This poem came out of an interaction I had with a young Syrian boy in Al-Zarqa. He talked to me about the trend of Western non-profits entering his life with various programs to empower him and his community, then leave just as fast as they came. It got me thinking about how we should practice empathy that isn’t self-serving."
You escaped a war but I just
escaped an air-conditioned home
to meet you halfway in a dusty town where we would
build a friendship on the arid summer soil.
before I could catch my breath
I had to leave
you had no choice so you left too
and our friendship was nothing more than
another outsider briefly passing by to ‘empower you’