Susan Tepper is the author of eight published books of fiction and poetry. Her most recent book just out in June is a road novel titled “What Drives Men.” It was shortlisted at American Book Fest Best Book Awards. Other honors and awards include eighteen Pushcart Nominations, a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for the novel “What May Have Been” (Cervena Barva Press, and currently being adapted for the stage), 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 (2003), Best of the Net and more. Tepper is a native New Yorker.


Five years gone
in a snap 
like the five fingers
on each hand –
While some get a sixth
some get none at all /
the strangeness of
a stump engaging the world
Is it friendly
how the stump is
greeted back
Or is it another reason
to recoil:
Greasy-looking handshake
you’d rather not
Then somehow a smile so
miraculously tender
You fall head first
into the stump’s trap.