Before and After
Ann LiPuma Nieporent 

July 2, 2014

It was a cool, blue, March morning,
the scent of grass light in the air.
We walked as a pair,
Two sisters;
One sixteen—
                passionate, poetic, full of promise.
                An exotic flower bursting into bloom.
One twelve—
                shy, soft-spoken, small.
                Not even a hint of a bud in sight.

We said goodbye,
a strawberry lip-glossed kiss
against my cheek.
She to her school bus,
I to mine.

My bus swayed gently,
straddled across the railroad tracks.
I saw the back end of a train
stopped, out of place.
The windows opened
with spring muscling in.

In the still of the early morning
two strangers had met;
A bus—with a driver too impatient to wait.
A freight train—with eighty-two cars in tow,
transforming a sleepy cornfield—
books, backpacks, bodies scattered,
sirens sounding,
the red ebb and flow of flashing lights.

And I,
cocooned in my yellow bus
thought twelve-year-old thoughts
for thirty minutes more. 

Ann LiPuma Nieporent has dedicated her life to reading and writing. After graduating from Boston College in 1981 with a BA in English, she worked as an Assistant Editor at McCall’s Magazine, publishing several pieces of her own during her time there. After a long hiatus while raising children, she returned to her writing and it was like reconnecting with a dear old friend. She completed her MFA at Manhattanville College in 2013 and has spent the last few years working on her first young adult novel, The Sible Box.  Before and After is from that work in progress.

What motivates her to create:
“I spend most days noticing ordinary things, like the color of a morning sky, and automatically search for just the right words to capture what I see, always striving to push past clichés. Taking those words and organizing them into meaningful sentences, paragraphs, pages that reach someone in an unexpected way, or make them feel something on a deeper level, is what keeps me connected to my laptop.”