Susan Tepper – Three Poems


Your heart in quiet rooms
is camouflage

A slumming sun comes calling—
so much silence here
the windows beg to wither
despite forsythia’s yellow
at its most glorious

Death is certain to be
horns blaring, lighted sparklers,
confetti coming down
this sudden rain

All the colors getting lost
in your hair

Voices smashed together
in a pile: hats, gloves, jackets
waiting to be shucked off—


We leave what we remember first:
September chill that falls on apples
in our lunch bags

Wet grass on the walk to school
that’s beginning to darken
at the curb

A man planting hedges
each day we hurried past
his dog’s long tongue.
And the way the sky never stops.

Still Water

It’s a type of chill that precludes love
entering through the window seams
despite a fire still drowsing
a cold loosening

what went into making this chamber:
its blues and greens,
the roses that hang in still water
now close to the edge—

I hear the persistent call of trumpet-lilies.
You take a rag and wash dirt off
lips from smiles that have dried.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is one of those intangibles that seems to shape shift from person to person and moment to moment. Some find beauty in perfection, while for me, beauty can present as a rotted tree trunk, a fence missing slats in exchange for honeysuckle, an old house gone to wrack and ruin. I look into things that might have once been considered beautiful, seeing them with a fresh perspective, at the possibilities, as they travel through what is known as time.


Susan Tepper has been writing for twenty years. Prior, she worked as an actress, singer, flight attendant, TV Producer, marketing manager, interior decorator, rescue worker and more. She spent almost a year going to and from Seoul, where she implemented a charter flight program with Northwest Airlines for the Seoul Summer Olympics. Tepper is the author of six published books of fiction and poetry. Her seventh book, a novella, will be out late this year from Rain Mountain Press, NYC. In 2006, Tepper was 7th place winner in the Zoetrope Contest For The Novel. In 2014 she took Second Place in story/South Million Writers Award. Additionally, she’s received ten Pushcart Nominations, several Best of the Net, NPR’s Selected Shorts and more. In 2010 she received a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for the epistolary novel What May Have Been (Cervena Barva Press). FIZZ, her reading series at KGB Bar, NYC, is sporadically ongoing these past ten years. Tepper lives with her husband and her dog Otis in the NY area. More at: