Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


by Howard Winn

Image source: Tnooz

What has happened to the sign posts,
the route numbers,
and why does the compass
seem not to work?
Has someone burned the maps,
torn up the directions,
pointed in the wrong way
while standing at the side of the road?
The noise from the speakers
seems to disguise the words
or make them into a meaningless mumble.
Who is talking?
What do they want?
It is difficult to see past that mirage
created in the Texas heat
over the road onward.
The scene appears like a cool lake,
shimmering in the sunlight,
calling for a redemptive baptism,
that turns the highway ahead
into seeming holy water.
Will we walk upon it,
following some self-defined sacred leader,
or will we find the surface
hard and black like the shadows
of the storytellers who lead us.
How far is America from here?

Howard Winn's poetry and fiction has been published recently in Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Taj Mahal Review, Descant (Canada), Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has a B. A. from Vassar College and an M. A. from the Stanford University Writing Program.