Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, April 20, 2018


by Gary Glauber

Starbucks Logo Mermaid Redesign by Cory Marino at Deviant Art

No one wanted to wait on the mermaid.

I couldn’t believe the rudeness.
She was out of her element,
waiting on this long line
nowhere near the water.
The barista acted like
she wasn’t even there.

But she was. Patiently waiting
her turn, eager to order.
She deserved her vanilla latte
as much as the next guy,
who happened to be me.

I had been behind her,
trying to pretend I didn’t
notice her resemblance
to the national chain’s logo:
same enchanting smile,
same long locks of hair.

Did they not hear
that uniquely dulcet tone,
the unmistakable foreign accent?

I stood there mute
when they passed her by
& turned to me instead.
I refused to be party
to this obvious act
of blatant prejudice.
What was the deal?
No shirt, no legs, no service?
No way.

Her scales glistened in
what I perceived was anger
or at least righteous rage.
It reminded me of that time
at the barbershop
when they refused service
to the giant who stopped in
for a trim.
They said it was
by appointment only,
& ignored the way
he barely fit into the chair.
He sat there for a time,
all awkward knees & elbows,
but these barbers were a stubborn lot.
He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders,
let out exasperated sigh, then got up.
Something in the look
told me he got this a lot.
“There’s small,
& then there’s petty,”
was what he said
before storming out.

When I finally opened my mouth
it was with fast solution at hand.
I spoke out the very order
she had been repeating
over & over again,
followed by my own.
I spoke slowly & the barista
repeated it back.
I gladly paid for hers,
& was happy to hand over
the green & white cup
a few minutes later,
not so much as an act
of flirtatious friendliness,
but more one of
true civil justice.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. He has published two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).