Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

Twelve feet shorter than when it was measured thirty
years ago. And it doesn't mean the earth has eroded, they
tell us, just that there are better tools for measuring now.
Ignore global warming. Ignore a Tsunami, a hurricane, and
now an earthquake. They act as if twelve feet doesn't make
a difference. Don't they realize that at two feet a little girl
can't reach the sink or the top drawer of the dresser?
Haven't they known the thrill when, growing a mere six
inches, suddenly she can jump and reach the light switch?
Even at that height she finds herself the last one in line
when her class marches toward recess, when only seven
inches separate her from the bully. Look at how easily the
tall, strong Russians could lord it over the Mongols with
even their feet bound. She hoped at least some woman in
China might understand.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage: