Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, June 15, 2017


by Sally Zakariya

The case hit home for me—
Virginia born and bred, Love
is my middle name, chosen Southern
style for the great-great-somebody
who rode to college in a boxcar
through Confederate lines bringing
her piano and her favorite slave

Virginia Is for Lovers the slogan says
but only certain lovers in those days
certainly not me and the black man
I lived with way back when

A hundred years plus four it took
for marriage to catch up
with Mr. Lincoln’s proclamation
for a suffering nation to bind
this one heart-deep wound—
at least to make a start

I love Virginia’s hills and valleys
its rich red earth where blood
of black and white is mingled
where black and white lie
equal under headstones
but there’s still healing to be done
one nation divided
      still wounded
            still bleeding

Sally Zakariya’s poems have appeared in 60-some print and online journals. She is the author, most recently, of When You Escape (Five Oaks Press, 2016), as well as Insectomania (2013) and Arithmetic and other verses (2011); and the editor of the poetry anthology Joys of the Table (2015).