Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, April 11, 2008


by Genevieve Jencson

The headline reads:
Soldiers despair
as public ignores
Iraq conflict
I read it,
finish my toast, drive to work,
and I forget

until I see her,
a girl perched on top of that old tank
that guards the memorial garden at the American Legion.
Her bare legs dangle on either side of the barrel
and a breeze lifts stands of her corn silk hair.

She looks so beautiful, so innocent, at this moment
it’s hard to believe we’re at war.
The morning paper says thousands dead,
and those are just the ones on our side.
Who is counting the all the girls
with dark frightened eyes caught under a shower of bombs,
born in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Who is counting the angry young men,
taught to fight with no other choice?

From her spot on the tank,
it appears the world cannot touch her;
and on this warm spring evening, I feel like the world
cannot touch me.
But how close are we to the edge,
how long can we remain unscathed,
and were we ever really innocent?