Susan Tepper










The Vase


In the beginning the room called out

asking for much and many—

I was too skinned to provide


the least dusting, a vacuum sweep

wiping tree scum from window wells


It can corner you: filth

and the way his breathing moved

hands up your legs


everything draped 1 mil plastic sheets

was not the satin you pretended,

or even percale


Finally a vase of ordinary blooms

aged brown along their edges

dug a trench to your room






Should I change these walls

To sage to experience


The smell when winter

Freezes every flower scent

Deer shit and the bird droppings


I could have sage up my nose

All day into the waning light


Sage might save me from

Impending disaster I feel

Like a ship being swallowed

By a wave


Sage to refresh my aura

Suggested some psychic but

I am way past that—




Shedding Water 


Out the west window the mountain

slopes covered in rusted leaves tender

crackling— there for all who listen:


deer tracks, the wolves and small creatures

suckling roots unending rivulets,

the shedding water cutting bloodlines to

yards and wasted gardens:


I am a creature of before and after

the flooding of ground each spring.












Susan Tepper grew up on Long Island where two of her recent books take place. What May Have Been: Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G is set in The Hamptons, home of the artist Jackson Pollock. In Tepper’s collection Deer & Other Stories, most of the stories are set on Long Island, or have a strong connection to The Island. Her third and most current published novel From the Umberplatzen (Wilderness House Press, 2012) is a quirky love story set in Germany and told in linked flash fiction.

Before settling down to study writing, Tepper worked as an actor, flight attendant, marketing manager, tour guide, singer, television producer, interior decorator, rescue worker and more.

Hundreds of her stories, poems, essays and interviews appear worldwide in print journals and online venues. Her bi-monthly MONDAY CHAT Interview column ran on the Fictionaut blog for more than a year and is archived on that site. Tepper is host of the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in New York City. She has been nominated nine times for the Pushcart Prize.Deer, the title story of her collection, was nominated for NPR Selected Shorts. Her novel WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN: Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G (with Gary Percesepe) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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