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Monday, April 03, 2017


by Melissa Fite Johnson

Tweet by Quinn Sutherland‏ @ReelQuinn, March 30, 2017:  “Yes, I’m here for my meeting with Mike Pence.”

No need to pluck the napkin from your lap,
Mike, I’ll only stay a moment. I have
a table already, over there by that window.
See my husband, speaking with the waitress
in a way that doesn’t make me uncomfortable?
Yes, I agree—the waitress is beautiful!
There’s something about a natural redhead,
you’re so right. It looks like he’s ordered us
a bottle of wine. That’s nice. Anyway,
Mike, if you could put down your fork
for a moment, I wanted to talk to you about
Planned Parenthood. Oh, stop, I understand
this is a fancy place, but surely some people
are talking shop. What about that booth?
Four white men, all in suits. You don’t think
that’s a business meeting? Please.
I’ve seen photos of your business meetings.
As I was saying—hey, could I sit for a minute?
I feel a bit awkward hovering over you
like some genie. Wait, are you blushing?
Do you have a thing for I Dream of Jeannie?
Heh, should I call you Major? No need to
flag down a waiter, Mike, I’m kidding.
So my friend went to Planned Parenthood
two years ago, and it ended up saving her—
Hello? Mike? Oh, is that your wife over there?
Talking to my husband? He probably
called out to her as she left the restroom.
She looks fine to me, Mike. Oh, my God,
did you really just ask about my intentions?
I intend to tell you how Planned Parenthood—
Jesus, I’ll explain my intentions as soon as
she comes over here. For now, she’s laughing
pretty hard. Yeah, my husband’s hilarious.
You know, it wouldn’t kill you to crack a joke
now and then. You’ve got one?  Let’s hear it!
Christ, Mike, a blonde joke? That’s the kind of
sexist thinking I’m concerned about. Sure,
take a moment, try again. Yes, I can see
your wife’s still laughing. Mike, seriously.
I’m not worried; you don’t need to be worried.

Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015),won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Rust + Moth, Broadsided Press, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas.