Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, March 27, 2009


by Meredith Escudier

The toothless man
across the street
can be found every day
of the week, Sundays included,
lying with legs in lateral display,
underneath a car.

With monkey wrenches, screwdrivers,
rags and spigots, valves and filters,
he tinkers away, doing lube jobs,
oil changes, wiring and re-wiring,
welding, gluing, sanding and painting.

Sometimes the hood is propped up,
over an array of dark metal parts,
an open cavern of coal-colored castings,
a battery with colored buttons,
a radiator with a screw-on cap.

Sometimes the dashboard is disentrailed
and a rainbow of spiky wires reaches out
like a limp porcupine, still impressive
if past its punchy prime.

The cars vary. There’s the silvery one with
no hubcaps and the run-down multi-purpose pick-up,
the once-white Tercel and a BMW with no lights in view,
a ‘72 Buick and a ‘75 Ford.

Everyday, my neighbor gets up and slips into his overalls.
Everyday, he sips consommé bouillon with rice balls.
Everyday, he lights a cigarette and contemplates a car that awaits,
a project that beckons, a vehicle that might run today
or not.
No bailout for him, no stimulus package in the offing,
no industry to save, no clauses to waive,
just keep puttering, just keep on puttering
'cause sooner or later, this baby'll sputter and purr.

Meredith Escudier’s non-fiction work has appeared in various literary magazines, anthologies, the International Herald Tribune "Meanwhile" column and as an ongoing column in a monthly based in the south of France. She has just started submitting poetry, which is a genre that suits her more and more.