Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, March 10, 2017


by Jon Wesick

In retrospect, her symptoms were obvious.
When American democracy mooned her neighbor,
the sheriff didn’t press charges. Who could blame her, after all?
And even though she forgot the last financial crisis,
the last phony war, and the last human rights abuse,
she could talk for hours about the framers’ original intent.

Once books and newspapers filled her study.
Now she spends days glued to reality TV
and only gets out of her easy chair
to answer phone calls from salesmen
offering magic beans and mercury supplements.
Her home smells of rot and petroleum
and since shopping is too much bother,
she simply hands defense contractors her bankcard.

By the time police found her bewildered
at the grocery store, it was too late.
She’d already wired our inheritance
to some Nigerian “prince.”
Guess we just didn’t want to know.

I don’t know what to do.
I search her blank expression.
Something’s in there. There has to be,
maybe a memory of lightning bugs
and backyard barbecues.
Somewhere behind those cataract-filled eyes
is the image     of us
standing on a Florida beach
while the distant, orange spark
that was the first moon rocket
arced into the sky

Jon Wesick hosts Southern California’s best ice cream parlor poetry reading and is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his story “The Visitor” for a Pushcart Prize. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels.