Issue > Poetry
Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman collection Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful won the 2018 Levis Prize and is published by Four Way Books in 2020. He is the Editor and Founder of the web-based project Love’s Executive Order (

This Will Destroy You

My daughter does this thing,
it's this cool thing,
it's the thing that young people do when they figure out they no longer need you, 
belong to you,
want anything to do with you;

she does this thing where she cooks up some turkey bacon,
makes up a bowl of berries, some toast, maybe a bagel,
hauls it all over to the window seat,
sits with a book, The Pearl Thief,
definitely not Harry Potter, she hates Harry Potter,
reading and eating,
all the spring air and light barreling into her like the guitar part
from a This Will Destroy You song
except there is no destruction anywhere to be found.
There's no decay or rot or horror.

There is only the cat
trying to get at her meat because he's hungry,
he's always hungry,
and if a bird flew into the house through the open window
he'd tear it to shreds
and everyone would get hysterical and start to scream
like the great wrath of God had finally come to pass.

But, before he can get his claws into the slab,
my daughter, the one who is all alone in her private spot
picks him up and places him quietly at another window
where he can smell the blood of the world through the screen,
and she goes back to her window
with her water and her breakfast
and is very much the person she is becoming
in solitude
and how beautiful it is;

remember how beautiful it was
when you discovered solitude,
thought about it,
thought, hey, this is kind of nice, I like this,
and then tried to get as much of it as possible
even when the world was pushing you to destroy yourself with other people.


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