Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Sunday, February 19, 2017


by Joan Mazza

Drawing by Tom Gauld for The New Yorker, January 10, 2017

In scary times, I have my ways to cope.
I make art and distract myself by listening
to books or reading. I get some neglected
chore done, one unpleasant overdue task.

I purchase supplies to last more than a year.
Paper towels, toilet tissue, Kleenex by the case.
Soap and bleach, lotion, dental floss, toothpaste,
cotton swabs. Of course, I buy more six-packs

of canned green beans, corn, tuna by the dozen.
I maintain my stash of pasta. Who knows what
tweet might interrupt the flow of goods in shipping
containers crossing the oceans? Even

my cold tablets, nail polish, and art supplies
are made in China, all Smithfield pork processed
there. So I buy while I can, not quite the prepper,
not rich enough for a condo underground

in New Zealand or a pilot on call to take me there,
but I’m good at this, once an adept and eager
camper. Watch me rake my wood paths
and place Band-Aids on the coming avalanche.

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 self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Kestrel, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Slipstream, 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.