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Susan Tepper


It is said in the hills peasant women go bare shouldered. On the deserted road I go bare headed in summer. Who is there to see me. Who will notice my lack of propriety. Mock me.  Reaching to touch my hair. Tearing me off my horse. Pushing me to the ground. A hand clamped tight against my mouth. Dress pulled over my head. Once pillaged the next invasion is of less notice, they say. Though not insignificant. Children have resulted from these swift violent acts. Some at birth tossed into the sea. Others kept hidden in caves. I would want mine under any conditions. Even born with six fingers and toes. A horn protruding from the forehead. Double tongued. Arms too stubbed for useful labor. Blind. And what of you, dear Petrov. Would you accept a child from out of violent beginnings. Most say not. I ask you to consider the damages. Womb torn apart. Bloodied body. Then the child. Both sacrificed. Why are men impervious to violence. I ask these things, dear Petrov, in an effort to understand war.


Susan Isla Tepper is a twenty-year writer. Eleven of her books are published, as well as a multitude of stories, poems, interviews, essays and opinion columns worldwide. Tepper has also written four stage plays. A new novel titled Hair of a Fallen Angel will be out in the winter.


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