Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, September 28, 2009


by David Plumb

You sit in the cockpit still
upright in the May Day position.
Hand on the stick, pistol rusty, shoes too big.
The watch on your wrist bones stopped.
Trees and brush cling to the tangled fuselage.
Birds and snakes inhabit the tail.
Where a shout might have been
a gaping hole in the calendar says
you are seventy one years old.

Fifty years you sat in the cockpit
Your nosedive buried, your war over and no one told you,
No one knew where you went. You just sat
There. Skin rotted off your once handsome face
Insects ate your flesh, everybody went home.
and your sweetheart stopped crying
and became a grandmother.

In this monument to absurdity, insanity
and silence, may you be in some sweet place
where if there is such a thing
it was a good war that you helped win.
God knows it should have been.
May you be with your new lover on a beach at sunrise
your arms stretched your chest to the East, free of this endless killing,
a rich smile of famous teeth, money to go around, wisdom.
May you know, if only for an instant
a truth of your dream.

Now, I step across this world to your Indonesian grave,
reach into the cockpit and take
your yellow bony hand in mine.
Your fragile history crumbles softly.
Flecks of you melt on my skin and I know.
I cannot wear your shoes
In the distance I hear new trumpets, better guns.

David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”