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  • By Laura Celise Lippman

Black Windows of Night & Other Poetry


Black Windows of Night


Each night we sit together

as the dark lengthens

and the snowy mountains fade

at an earlier hour.

I light candles as he watches.

We cook together, prodding,

coaching, and sometimes criticizing.

I recognize the patterns

of our dailiness, how we

reach over each other

with the comfort

and soft contempt of the familiar.

Together so long we abandon

the formality of manners.

I look and see his dad’s facial lines

drifting downward on his face,

hear the slower cadence

of his father’s voice.

Changes of countenance make

him only resemble the handsome

drake who courted me.

In the black windows of the night

we are an old couple

lingering over dinner.

I see why my new friend

didn’t recognize that old photo

I posted on the fridge

and I have to wonder

how soon there will be

only one of us looking back.


Hearts Cracked Open


The after-school pickup, the smile, the grandparents’ hug.

Palm-moistened coins revealed, unsealed from the tight grasp

of our happy child eager to line up with his mates.

He makes his purchase––a bag of popcorn he cradles at his chest,

unshared and delicious. Suddenly, he falls, startles,

and the screaming starts. His lost treasure––only ten kernels––

blossoms on the grass between sidewalk and street. He tosses his small body

to the ground like a grenade, rolls and cartwheels with uncontained fury.

He beats the ground as if these small pieces of puffed corn

have cracked his heart. We impotent grandparents stand by

as we regain our bearings, our small drama

displayed for the world to see. We plead and clutch and cajole our little guy,

point out the almost full remainder, but reason is lost.

Unable to undo what’s done, it’s clear the fun has gone.


I flash back to my own second-grade disruption,

my own daily eruption of copious tears.

Even now I can’t explain the reason for that long-ago childhood grief.


Laura Celise Lippman’s work has appeared in Avatar Review, Brief Wilderness, The Broken Plate, Crack the Spine, Crosswinds, El Portal, Evening Street Review, Flights, Hey I’m Alive Magazine, La Presa, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Perceptions Magazine, Plainsongs, Pontoon Poetry, Poydras Review, Journal of Family Practice, The Meadow, Neologism Poetry Journal, New English Review, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, and Spotlong Review. Her work is also included in the book Writing While MaskedReflections of 2020 and Beyond. She attended Bryn Mawr College and received her M.D. from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She practiced medicine for thirty-seven years and raised two children in the Pacific Northwest. Since retirement, she continues to take poetry courses at Hugo House in Seattle. She enjoys the outdoors and sharing her wonder at the natural world.

3 comments

3 Comments


bobbyfunderburk1
bobbyfunderburk1
Apr 20, 2023

The last sentence of "Black Windows of Night" strengthens the poem through understatement. Simple words bridging the chasm from fridge to eternity.


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ddouthat09
ddouthat09
Mar 14, 2023

The infantile outburst over six popcorn flakes is the reverse of the grieving coin. On its obverse we see its grown-up version: the deeper the loss, the quieter the grief.

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Guest
Mar 14, 2023

Laura has chosen incisive and timeless words and phrases that make the reader feel and become part of the aging experience. I can speak of this with some authority because I am there, although my journey is not as dark as the poem.

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