Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Saturday, April 12, 2008


by Diane Elayne Dees

"It wasn't women as a gender that were taken against their will, shackled...and put in slavery." --Clarence Jones, former MLK advisor, What Martin Would Say.

The women of Salem, swaying from wood beams
on Gallows Hill, cannot speak. The women banished
to Indian reservations, sent because they dared to speak,
are silent now. The women shackled and force-fed,
gut-broken for the rest of their lives, because they were brazen
enough to believe they should vote--can no longer talk to us.
The girls sold as prostitutes do not dare say a word.
The women who did speak up, and were locked into
assylums, were never heard from again. The women
whose genitals were mutilated to cure them of loving
too many men, or loving even one woman--
they, too, are silent. The women fighting in Iraq--who fear rape
as they fear the enemy--try to speak, but our ears are stuffed
with American flags, and we do not hear. Women taken
against their will and shackled...that, too, is America.

Diane Elayne Dees is a writer in Louisiana. Her poetry about social issues has been published in Out of Line, HazMat Review, The New Verse News, Mobius, Umbrella, Poetry Super Highway, and the anthology, Hurricane Blues: How Katrina and Rita Ravaged a Nation.