Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, October 18, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

What did we not see when
he bought a simple rope,
at very large box store
   testing hemp for stretch, for breaking point?

and when he took it home and wound it
   around the brass bedpost, then around the newel
   on his stairway and leaned
   back as if water skiing on carpet

or when he showed it to his neighbor
   bragging about what a good rope
   it would be for all kinds of purposes
   at a fair price

and when he scolded the dog for chewing
  the end of it before he wrapped
  that end in duct tape to preserve integrity

then when he climbed the stairs
  to the dusty attic and shook his
  head at the wicker bird cage and
  the gray luggage his mother carried
  for thirty years,  filled with yellow
  linens and birth certificates

and he pushed that all aside,
  and took out the maple stool
  his sister had used for milking
  or said she once used for milking
  he wasn’t sure

and then he hung the noose
   from the debt ceiling, bragging to the dog
   that he could hang him too
   if the mutt didn’t stop nipping heels
   and scratching at the door

and how was it that the first responders
   arrived seconds before he kicked
   that stool out from below his noose?

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet.