Susan Isla Tepper is a twenty-year writer and the author of 12 published books of fiction and poetry and 2 stage plays. Her satirical Novel concerning the pandemic is titled OFFICE and was just released by Wilderness House Press. She also previewed her play THE CROOKED HEART concerning artist Jackson Pollock, in his later years, at the Irish Repertory Theatre in NYC on October 25, 2022. http://www.susantepper.com
By Susan Isla Tepper
The boy lit a match stepping
off the stone path
onto plank wood someone
laid down a few boards
then stopped; someone
deciding this path must end.
Then the boy saw the cow
of a neighbor, Vera
living two houses east.
Lifeless on its side
an eye stared up blank;
the fly-specked tongue
a long gash in the soft brown hide.
next to embankments
still hard from the freeze.
In Springtime the roadsides
sprouted the famous white daffodils
of his homeland.
But now the boy watched
circling and diving the cow.
Feasting had begun.
How many times that rough tongue
grazed his palm to accept
a potato the boy held out.
Big liquid eyes that seemed to brighten.
Back then potatoes enough for all.
Of the Spring flowers
his mother loved the white daffodils best.
Cut some to put in the blue vase
he had urged her under an even bluer sky.
The day was calm, a before day.
His mother looked up a moment; then
patting his head declared she wouldn’t
take them from their given place.
Though all the long winter her blue crackle vase
stood empty and aloof on the kitchen shelf.
Now enemy tanks stand empty sunk into deep mud.
The boy, in a sudden burst, screams out kicking
the ground, losing his mind, exhaling
great sobs, tearing up mounds of dry grass—
the sleeping bulbs don’t stand a chance.
Finally, at last, panting— he bends forward
hands braced on his knees—
After all what they’d done to his mother—
he felt no longer dead or alive.
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.