Susan Tepper is the author of eight published books of fiction and poetry. Tepper’s honors and awards include eighteen Pushcart Nominations, a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for the novel “What May Have Been” (Cervena Barva Press), NPR’s Selected Shorts Series, Second Place Winner in Story/South Million Writers Award, Best Story of 17 Years of Vestal Review, Shortlisted 7th in the Zoetrope Novel Contest (2006), Best of the Net and more.


Death that hollow space
numb to the crow’s screech,
first pairing of lovers
forgetting cold nights

Hammers at windows
all bits of warmth
the wood stove chokes out
dreams gone bad

blue to purple
— you can make believe


Each morning moves you further away
to warm space.
Mine stays cold:
My sheets are frigid
My windows frost
My ice is milk
A carton close to crumbling—

And stinks, too,
when nearing the end


A map where the tunnel
is marked—
your finger toward
roads leading to
verdant woodland

Mountains that glimmer
under an all-day-moon

Your motive / desire
to catch the unraveling