Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, February 24, 2011


by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

I haven’t seen it in fifteen years.
The last time I was there,
the air was warm, the sky smiled.
I was buried
under skinny days and teenage crushes.

The land where I learnt
to play ping pong,
chop the ball to win the game,
knocks dead limbs like soccer ball,
keeps scores of defiant voices.

The Mediterranean Sea,
pristine like a sheet of silk,
swallowed my adolescent angst,
is bleeding tears today,
waves let out shrills.

The bakery
from across my home
where my brother went,
every summer morning to fetch khubz,
smells of putrefied promises.

When I am asked
what have you lost?
I whisper: you won’t understand
my childhood home is filled with blood,
nightmares replace memories.

I watch with sand in my eyes,
my lips—dry from praying.
I fear the stories yet to unfold.
I mourn the dunes of bodies
acting as markers for the future.

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a Pushcart nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, blogger, wife, yoga-devotee, dancer, and oenophile whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a fiction novel (upcoming in April 2011), and several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives and writes in New York City. She is seen at poetry readings across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Sweta also teaches creative writing workshops. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook .