Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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


by Megan Merchant
"The Art of the Hostage Negotiation" by Pia Guerra, TheNib

“Look what you made me do has emerged as the dominant ethos of the current White House.” —Jessica Winter, “The Language of the Trump Administration is the Language of Domestic Violence,” The New Yorker, June 11, 2018

I was taught how to microwave an egg, to transform
fabric into a skirt that fell well below my knees, but also

how to mend a tear, a fractured wing, a black eye. I pricked
my finger with scissors when it came time to cut out ads from

glossy magazines & construct the female body as nest. They
said to fill it with prayer, which hums the same as obedience.

Mine held a mixing bowl, silk scarf, pearls. I learned that
the joke about broken bones ends with—next time that bitch

better listen. I learned that some laughter requires permission,
but also how to pad & hide the red they kept calling fault,

while the boys next door sawed wood into loud splits just
so they could pound them back together, and when the nail

bent from too much force, they took turns saying look what

you made me do.

Megan Merchant is an Editor at Comstock Review. Her most recent book Grief Flowers (Glass Lyre Press) will be coming into the world this summer.