Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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 26, 2017


by Lyndi Bell O'Laughlin

The “good old days” induce a thin,
waxy coating on the outermost cells
of the lining of the throat,
carry a subliminal aftertaste
of Let's pretend that didn’t happen,
our capacity for denial so dignified
it should wear a chimney pot hat,
its name unmentionable, like Yahweh,
multiplied by seven billion.

The pain of contradiction and repetition
destined to repeat the curly climb
of Pacific Salmon full of eggs,
ignoring the promise in each other's eyes,
there is just the blinkless
death spiral of instinct to extinct,
this being the only way
some are able to rise each morning,
are able to shove a foot down a pant leg
before brushing their teeth with the frightful paradox
I am not to blame, but the blame is mine,

and the sunrise spreads its royalty over
bombed-out ruins and refugees,
exiles, gut piles, and Goldman Sachs;
water and air grow confused,
don’t know where to go
Image source: Smith & Wesson
to escape the uncle's hand,
dry earth shrivels and shrinks,
tries to swallow.

The poets conjure sublime descriptions
of the beauty of a spruce bough in winter;
poems that sing rhythmic sunrise colored
sleights-of-hand that make me yearn for the day
my sister and I snuck into our parents' closet,
hoping to catch the loose corner
of a shiny-bowed Christmas present;
and for a moment we did,
then remembering hard enough,
the glittering gift of my imagination disappears,
and there is only the stack of dog-eared Playboys,
the empty vodka bottles,
the battered 20-gauge shotgun
leaning cockeyed in the corner.

Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin is a poet from Wyoming, USA. Lyndi’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016), TheNewVerse.News, Gyroscope Review, Unbroken Journal, and elsewhere.