Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, June 26, 2015


by Joan Mazza

I’m not posting photos on social media
of my father with his arm around me,
both of us grinning, oozing affection.
No photos like that exist, not even
from my childhood.

On Father’s Day, I’m perusing again
of my boozy father’s last act, self-
inflicted gun shot that whisked him out
of this world and our lives. How did he
excuse it?

I’m remembering how my short-fused
husband insisted my father have a gun,
took him to buy that Walther PPK
and showed him how to use it.

he said. That was the gun he used when
he could not defend himself against misery
and hopeless blues, my mother’s cancer.
I’m thinking how glad I am that my Ex
never was a father.

In an old photo, my not-yet-Ex husband stands
unsmiling, pistol on hip, rifle and Confederate flag
crossed across his chest, wearing a string tie
and cowboy hat. I took that photo, and only
was bemused.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Whitefish Review, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Slipstream, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.