Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Monday, October 13, 2008


by Darla Himeles

We follow the mapped black line down
Rt 13 from Philly through little towns

marked as dots. I insist there is a faster way,
a simple backdrop for sing-alongs, some interstate

without these stoplights, these low speed limits
forcing me to concentrate on places and people

from Smyrna to Norfolk to the Outer Banks.
Buildings with bowed wood mock faded paint;

misspelled store signs prop on window panes.
Can't we take the easy interstates, blinders

from our neighbors' pain?
Get me to vacation, hiking, writing, quiet

wedged between waves, a needed break
from the Web and The Times—

but here's Dover Air Force Base
where secretly bodies ship in

from Iraq to the States—
Can't be the fastest way

to recall mis-shipped people,
but who here will invest in change?

The man with crushed cans in garbage bags
trudging on his bike along the highway?

Five dollars from cans affords no break.
This is where I get stuck, though I see

the difference between flesh and page,
between black lines, white space

and the lives maps displace—
by maps, I mean laws, wars—

solutions the quick and dirty way
that pierce at the crux of hope
and where our spirits start to break.

Darla Himeles currently lives in Bryn Mawr, PA, and works as the Coordinator of Staff Education at nearby Bryn Mawr College. This winter she will begin pursuing her MFA in poetry at Drew University's low-residency program. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Mad Poets Review, Getting Read, and Poetica Magazine.