by Susan Tepper

Meditations on dear Petrov, set in 19th Century Russia during a time of war

Trust I have little to spare.  I have my house about to fall down.  Once a fine house.  Before the wars.  Then most ran or were eliminated.  A matter of luck, you say, a tumble- down house.  Better than no house.  You might choose to stay, dear Petrov.  Perhaps you find your tent as well suited as you find this house.  If it comes down in an avalanche of snow I will have to dwell in a cave.  Nothing to take when the time comes.  I have what I have.  A horse who lives and breathes beside me.  Day into night the walls moving land into sea.  Night has its own confusions.  I suppose like your regiment setting up camp. The mountain shimmering purple.  In your frantic scurry to assemble do you notice.  Rogues roam for money and drink here.  Keep the doors bolted, you say, it’s difficult times.  You look content in your chair.  Its blue velvet worn.  A chair I cover each time you leave.  The cloth with its cherries trailing green stems.  Giving hope.  Then the fever strikes the moment the door slams behind you.  I rush up the stairs to peer through the attic spaces.  Watching you stomp down the road.  Meeting your regiment somewhere past the curve.  Moments or days.  The road bends lost to shadows.    

Susan Tepper is a twenty year writer and the author of ten published books of fiction and poetry.   Her current project is an Off-Broadway Play concerning the artist Jackson Pollock in his later years.


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