from Meditations on dear Petrov
Set in 19th Century Russia during a time of war
by Susan Tepper
Honest men abound you say. Where, dear Petrov. Where do such honest men abound. On the great battlefields. Are these the honest men of which you speak. Or perhaps chopping wood in resigned silence. Or in the marketplace. The smithy. Around me I see only rude men. Anxious to fondle anyone wearing a skirt. Men licking their mouths lasciviously. Pushing their faces into the breasts and throat without invitation. Don’t they realize their spittle is foul. Is that part of the honesty. Putting forth all they have. A sad truth. Women to lie beneath them while they get their fill. As in the smoky taverns. Whisky overflowing. Men grabbing and gobbling food and drink. A well turned ankle. Everyone shoved together like a quilt stitched out of control. One facet in the wrong direction the quilt becomes destruction. Squares and diamonds breaking apart. Underneath such a quilt will be cold. Winds entering spaces missing soft stuffed cotton. Colder than the darkest nights. Starless. Unforgiving. To bring forth a child on such a night. Imagine. The child pushes for its life while the mother is helpless. No choice. Is that when the honest men finally appear.
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More about Susan Tepper's widely published work can be found at www.susantepper.com.