Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, March 08, 2006


by Jane Cassady

My cousin and his bride
anticipating their 1400 rights
surely did not ask for this sermon.
It's Worst Case Scenario Catholic
that one about us ruining the world
even blaming the war on
the confusion over the definition of marriage
(then blessing the president.)
This time, too, the flood's our fault
the one whose brown and hopeless images
keep Amy awake at night,
not feeling it's her right to cry.

It's a sick evil world says the priest.
Hear in the heathen section
the kids are getting restless.
My nephew's flashcards (one turtle
plus seven stars equals eight.)
are scattered underneath the pews
a cartoon talisman, a transparent
and optimistic tarot. My niece
keeps asking for gum-it makes
a disruptive and satisfying noise
when removed from its blister pack.

Unable to voice our indignance
we let the kids get more rambunctious
exclaiming or crying or asking why
(We don't know, but I'll occasionally make up an answer.)
My sister feeds the baby
an act as pagan as she is
and I find this comforting.

Jane Cassady runs a weekly poetry reading in Syracuse, NY. She is a full-time poet and is therefore obsessed with envelopes. She's the author of four chapbooks, the most recent being Poems to the Author of Fargo Rock City from Turtle Ink Press. She has appeared in The Comstock Review, Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets, and other places.