Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


by Bunkong Tuon

Abby Spangler and her sixteen year-old daughter Eleanor Spangler Neuchterlein hold hands as they participate in a "lie-in" during a protest in favor of gun reform in front of the White House, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) via Boston Herald.

Here, in the Northeast,
There is snow on the frozen ground.
Birds are flying from the South,
Crying madly in the mourning sky.
A man with a gun is hunting them.
The branches shake against
My bedroom window.
Their song is plaintive,
Sad, and urgent.
My glass window will shatter
If nothing is to be done.
They sing about a teacher
Crouching in the broom closet
With her high school students.
A survivor says afterward,
“First we thought it was firecrackers.
Then my friends fell down,
One by one.”
They sing about the adults
Behaving like children,
Taking no responsibility
To protect the young.
They sing about the children
Acting like adults
Marching to that great mansion,
Lying on cold concrete,
Eyes closed.  Some held hands,
Others over their chests,
As if caught dead in prayer.

Bunkong Tuon is the author of Gruel (2015) and And So I Was Blessed (2017), both poetry collections published by NYQ Books.  He's also a contributor to Cultural Weekly.