Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, January 18, 2016


by Cally Conan-Davies

A new militant from Arkansas guards the entrance to the occupied refuge on Jan. 14. Photo: Amanda Peacher/OPB

Free-ranging, undeterred by fences.
Known to engage in earthworks
and entrenchment.
In response to media attention
its call changes pitch.
Immune to openhandedness,
it goes armed to the teeth.

Although it can mimic the walk and talk
of creatures that can’t be disturbed,
this odd bird is often seen
out in the cold, ear to the ground.
It thrives beyond the pale.

Evidence that it parasitises
refuges of other species
until it becomes difficult to determine
which is which
suggests that it considers itself
in need of protection,
although such exposure
it will
aggresssively guard against,
tooth and nail.

Cally Conan-Davies is an Oregon resident and frequent visitor to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.