Susan Tepper is the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry. Her tenth book, titled 9X9, will be released shortly by Cervena Barva Press.
Tepper is in the production phase of an Off-Broadway play that concerns artist Jackson Pollock in his later years. http://www.susantepper.com
Meditations on dear Petrov
Set in 19th Century Russia during a time of war
You instruct me to go to the church. Defy the innocents. Rub holy water on my breasts. Put my lips to the lips of God. I stand staring at your cracked mouth. A ruined crevice. This journey you suggest, dear Petrov, will not be my saving grace. Salvation comes from rocks and the streams. The white birch forest. The mountain always in view. Protective. Its great shadow veils the house and the gunfire I most fear. I ask if I’ll outlive this. You shrug. A soldier coated in the stench of war. Though I brushed your coat and scrubbed your boots ‘til my hands throbbed. I bow to what my sink must endure. Lately the birds have returned. Spring brings a troubling regularity. The freedom to choose. I have but few. Which hat to put on. Whether to darn my cloak or go ragged. The saints went ragged I say. Causing you to laugh considerably. Loud and bellowing. Crashing. Knocking your whisky over. I cover my ears and back away. Looking out a smudged window. On my lips a soft prayer: O black birds of Russia I know it isn’t true, the rage still burns bright in you.
Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist, and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.