Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Saturday, May 11, 2019


by Devon Balwit

Kendrick Castillo was killed while trying to stop one of the assailants during a shooting at his school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday. Photo credit: Rachel Short, via Associated Press via The New York Times, May 9, 2019

To run towards the man with the gun is not
what we mothers want our sons to want,

dead hero sons harder to bear than living ones,
and there being so many shooters, so many guns,

and though it makes us cry to read of the goodness
embodied in such sacrifice, we imagine the badness

of every day thereafter—the silent, strangely clean
house, and all the milestones unseen—

graduation, grandbabies, holidays—the eulogy
in the Times a poor substitute for the ordinary prodigy

of our boys. Our hearts burst at these still children
laying down their lives—we’d rather all stood up again.

Devon Balwit's most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found in here as well as in Jet Fuel, The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Apt (long-form issue), Tule Review, Grist, and Rattle among others.