Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, June 06, 2011



On tv, the damage is miniature and confined
to the screen. The houses are toys that were kicked
around the sandbox, and the trees?  Twigs resigned
to future campfires. Scavengers in night clothes pick
through belongings, stopping only long enough
to grant interviews that don’t conclude until they cry.
The money shot. Big piles of smoldering stuff:
that’s what the Twin Towers were. Even when I tried
I couldn’t make that real, but driving through Battle Creek
after the tornado, seeing with my own eyes
what winds had done, evisceration of trees, the quick
stroke of spring hell and roofs whirling into skies--
That was real. We don’t fear terrorists or earthquakes.
We fear air where the Great Plains meet the Great Lakes.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske drives to teach and listens to NPR.