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.

Blank Stare

Humanity greets with a blank stare
not uncommon.
I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised
as I’m also watching
a small azalea
fail this year
for no reason I can identify.
Conditions in that patch of ground
same as the rest
of the garden:
mostly clay and rock
with vines underscoring
may no longer be conducive
to new growth
despite how hearty the bush.
I always plant with highest hopes.