Seen from My Bedroom Window at 813 Cumberland Court

BY Amy Lipman

When the streetlamp came on in the evenings it was around 6 PM, mid-November through February, and something like 8 PM, March through October. Where light was needed in between the dates of daylight savings was not attended to by the city’s streetlamp synchronicity schedule and when the lamp went on and I saw it through my window, I understood that it went on not because of anything my parents or my brother did—whose is it? I asked my mother, and she said It is the city’s and then, every day after, when I walked by and stopped, crouching down to run my hand around its base—it felt like stealing and I loved it. 

The bicycle that I picked out at the school rummage sale laid on my front lawn at the end of the summer; Monday through Thursday it stayed in the garage but Friday through Sunday I used it every morning and every afternoon and so I was permitted to lay it in the grass and one day my neighbor Megan took the bike and rode it, because her lawn became my lawn and because she was two inches taller and her jeans became my jeans and because she learned to ride a bike before me and now that I had a new machine to add to the neighborhood which was very small, which didn’t include our whole block, which, to us, only included our two houses, plus the ones on either side of them, she felt and I felt that to pass the bike back and forth made sense because we needed to know exactly how the other one was functioning and at that age there were not many things we could articulate and so our only understanding of each other’s separate lives came through in the way we needed/stole each other’s possessions.


Amy Lipman teaches creative writing at Carthage College. Her work has been featured in Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Ghost Proposal, Nightblock, and Pinwheel. She lives and writes in Chicago.