Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, August 30, 2006


by Lee Patton

the exploded contents of her toy purse
as well as what remains of her brains
after her skull got hammered

She belongs to us,
plus videos of her prances at family picnics,
plus dances at pageants and recitals, plus
that dollar she saved from the tooth fairy

She belongs to us,
privacy pulverized like her tiny sex--
"left-over meat loaf" the reporters said--
"The right to know is sacred, sovereign," so

she belongs to us;
her mystery spices our loafin’ staff lunches
our theories about family secrets
salt to season strangers' wounds

She belongs to us
because we felt so violated, so victimized
No, we never knew her, not in person
No, we weren't there, exactly, but

she belongs to us
Why, we could snap the necks of our kids
we could fuck our own flesh and blood
but we're not that kind of people, no

Not even the killer gets final possession
She remains with us
Gimme that dollar, doll

Among several quarterlies that have published Lee Patton’s work: The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. Among many anthologies: Hawaii-Pacific Review’s Best of Decade, XY-Files, including the title poem in What’s Become of Eden: Poems of Family at Century’s End. Among other literary activities and awards: Finalist the 2001 Lambda Awards for best novel (Nothing Gold Can Stay), 2006 Colorado Authors League short fiction award, The Borderlands Playwrights Prize in 1993 (The Houseguest) and the 1996 Ashland New Playwrights (Orwell in Orlando).