by Susan Tepper
I am under the influence. Ashamed. My face is blanched rather than the rosy shade you often compliment, dear Petrov, stroking with the back of your hand. Why is it that you choose to touch my cheek with your hard knuckled part. Soft fingers would do as well. I speak this out of some concern, some worry. That day by the river— when clouds spread quickly, threatening to ruin our picnic. After you had poured the wine, before taking our first sip, you reached out and colors clashed against river water. Filling me with a certainty of much more ahead. Then my face received only that swift brushing of bone. You had smiled, rather delighted with yourself; you said the wine waited to be drunk. While I, dear Petrov, in waiting; there is so little time. Autumn, and the leaves to their dark and withering curl. You spoke of taking me out in the wooden boat. Yet we never got up from the riverbank. We finished the wine, you recited lines of poetry. My time here must be more than lines. More than wine and sudden clouds breaking a warm day.
Susan Tepper has published 4 books of fiction and a chapbook of poetry. Her recent title The Merrill Diairies (Pure Slush) is a Novel in Stories that follows a young woman’s journey over two continents for nearly a decade.
October 8, 2014
Photo by: Gessy Alvarez