by Susan Tepper
I have grown my fingers into claws, in order to shimmy up trees and watch for you. All day I watch for you. I hang by my nails dug into tree bark. The forest is a summer tangle, dear Petrov, while I’m this wild cawing bird— though silent, silent, while the actual birds trill. This was not my understanding. This was not what you spread out before me in bright map colors. Remember the way I had to step around. Land masses and that ocean and the others, and the seas. All for the taking is what you told me. And why dear Petrov should I question such a heaven at my feet? I let my hair drop onto my shoulders and beyond. Loosened my dress. Left my stockings hanging messy over the railing. I went straight to you, unravished, unprotected. You swallowed me. Then crept away before first light.
Susan Tepper is the author of four published books of fiction and a chapbook of poetry. Her current title “The Merrill Diaries” (Pure Slush, 2013) is a Novel in Stories. Tepper is a finalist in story/South Million Writers Award 2014. She writes two monthly columns: UNCOV/rd Interviews at Flash Fiction Chronicles and Let’s Talk at Black Heart Magazine. FIZZ, her reading series at KGB Bar, NYC, has run sporadically for seven years. http://www.susantepper.com