Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Sunday, October 06, 2019


by Diane Elayne Dees

After being taken from their mother, calves’ cries can be so intense that their throats become irritated. —farmsanctuary

You beat me and made me work
until I collapsed, dead or near-dead,
and they called you a criminal.
You did this to someone with hooves,
and they called you an entertainer.

You set a trap to disable my leg,
forced a prod through my body,
destroyed me with deadly volts of electricity,
and they called you a monster.
You did this to someone with fur,
and they called you the fashion industry.

You poured acid in my eyes
and poison down my throat;
you shackled me and shot me in the head,
and they called you a psychopath.
You did this to someone with a tail,
and they called you a scientist.

You confined me so that I could not
lie down or turn around, force-fed
me until my legs almost broke,
cut off parts of my body, beat me,
and stole my new-born children,
and they called you the very definition of evil.
You did this to someone with four legs,
and they called you a farmer.

We are all animals.
I speak for the billions who have no voice,
except for the constant moaning,
the final blood-curdling screams.

Diane Elayne Dees’s chapbook I Can’t Recall Exactly When I Died is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House; also forthcoming from Kelsay Books is her chapbook Coronary Truth. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.