Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, October 20, 2017


by Penelope Scambly Schott

Abdi Ali Ibrahim speaks during a Reuters interview after burying the hand of his sister Asha Ali Ibrahim believed to have been killed during an explosion that killed hundreds last Saturday in KM4 street in the Hodan district in Mogadishu, Somalia. -- REUTERS/Feisal Omar, October 17, 2017.

He came downtown to hunt for his sister.
He couldn’t reach her on her cell phone.
He can’t find her in any of the hospitals.
Someone has collected loose body parts
and put them into black plastic bags. He
searches in the bags until he recognizes
his sister’s wedding band. Now this man
stands ankle deep in the charred rubble.
He holds all he has–his sister’s left hand.

Penelope Scambly Schott was awarded four New Jersey arts fellowships before moving to Oregon, where her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received an Oregon Book Award for Poetry. In 2013 she had two books published: Lovesong for Dufur and Lillie Was a Goddess, Lillie Was a Whore. Penelope’s most recent book (2014) How I Became an Historian is a lyric examination of the connections between past and future, both in her family and in the larger world.