Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, January 06, 2011


by Carmen Tafolla

Birds fall from the sky
Fish drown in the river
Citizens sweep up the trash,
discard, forget

Scientists pronounce the deaths
(five thousand  birds,
eighty-five thousand fish)
totally unrelated
Ignoring what
we do not fear,
we pack the shopping bags and debit cards,
 put the car in gear,

vote to fight more enemies
of faith or color
or immigrants to a Lady Statue
whose promise is forgotten

Dirty – Discard.
Dirty – Discard.
Dirty – Discard.

Perhaps there is another
 continent less polluted
than the one these brown illegals
were once proud owners of

If not, perhaps we white elite can
buy a ticket to a cleaner planet
whose native sons
can then be dispossessed

and centuries later
declared illegal,
 as the messengers
fall from the sky

Carmen Tafolla is the author of more than twenty books, including Sonnets to Human Beings, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans, and Tamales, Comadres & The Meaning of Civilization. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Américas Award, the Charlotte Zolotow Children’s Book Award, the Tomas Rivera Book Award, and the Art of Peace Award.  Her family has lived in San Antonio since before it was the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Republic of Mexico, but they still struggle to pay the rent.