Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, April 05, 2018


by Sally Zakariya

Front pages of The Washington Post, April 5 (left) and April 6, 1968, during the riots following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. (The Washington Post)

I was there when the city burned
smug-safe in white girl invulnerability
watching the angry smoke rise
over 14th St., hearing the sirens blare.
Mother wanted me to leave but
D.C. was my city too. Evenings
I’d walk home up 18th St.
with my black boyfriend
in time to meet the curfew
the acrid smell of tear gas
clutching at our throats.
And then we’d stop and kiss
good-night as soldiers watched.
It felt like a small victory
proof that it would all come right
but in my heart I knew
some dark veil had been lifted
some page turned and we
could never close our eyes
again to the cold facts
of what my people
had done to his.

Sally Zakariya’s Pushcart Prize-nominated poetry has appeared in some 70 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 Joys of the Table (2015). Her chapbook Personal Astronomy is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.