from Meditations on dear Petrov
Set in 19th Century Russia during a time of war
by Susan Tepper
White is the color most blinding. You say it’s the snows and naturally they will be blinding. Safe in your chair at the fireside it is easy to wave off my fears. I am aware of the snows. The snows have formed my bones. When I’m placed in the ground and my flesh has been eaten my bones will be the whitest white. Marbleized. Sharp tools to cultivate the dirt. A farmer might come upon me by accident. His dog having sniffed out my shallow grave. Barking deliriously. Snatching an arm bone between its teeth. Joyously running in circles. A great discovery. Will I be watching this moment unfold. Trembling, I fear it to be the case. Death always on the tip of my tongue. Even when my tongue has slipped far back into memory. Unable to make the slightest utterance. What of your own death, dear Petrov. Warm now at the fire but when you are in battle. You laugh off my questions lighting your pipe. Leave the plates for later you say. You say I should come sit beside you. I move slowly. Hearing my skirts rustle. If I had a choice in death I would become a leaf. Travelling the four seasons. One entire rotation. It’s enough. A single leaf amongst millions. That seems a satisfying end.
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More about Susan Tepper's widely published work can be found at www.susantepper.com.