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.