Matthew Lippman
Two Deborahs

I may sit down one night and die.

I may sit in a big green chair with a glass of water in one hand and a pencil 

    in the other

and leave this world.

You may not be in the room and the heart might not be the thing to turn

    on me

but I will still feel you the way I felt you when I walked up Lafayette Street


with my shirt blowing in the late May wind

while I sang four lines of one song backwards

and thought about the whispering creek I used to hop

when I was a six year old boy

chasing the first girl I ever fell in love with

through the trees on her family’s woods.

Her name was Deborah and the only time I ever kissed her she was


and a great mass of purple cheeks begging me not to stop

because I was a famous man.

And tonight I am not Moses or Charlton Heston

or even a Greek boy named Nicko.

I am just Matthew in my mother’s house

feeling born out of a bottle of green t-shirts I have stitched myself

through the avenues of the evening

and the pressures of lilacs

as they push up against the sides of my calf

while I walk these miles through the sea and otherwise.

I am just Matthew and this is not my night to die,

to sit down with a glass of water in one hand and pencil in the other

without you here.

You are here

and I have found you after a long road through an apple orchard in

    the middle of Iowa

on the most green and yellow late May afternoon a hundred million 

    miles ago

when you pulled down your pants to offer me something so small

that the second I heard your name, Deborah,

I knew the trouble had been given to me to be stripped.

So tonight in the calm caves of my mother’s home

I have a piece of you in me

while the lilac pushes up against the side of my leg

as I sit in this solid oak chair

and listen to the large city sing its own song

to the ambulance horns and fire engines that have long since taken their

    own toll.

Found In Volume 28, No. 06
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Matthew Lippman
About the Author

Matthew Lippman is the author of Salami JewMonkey Bars, and The New Year of Yellow, which won the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize.