Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, April 18, 2020


by Julia Meylor

Credit: Mauritshuis, The Hague

      In response to The Goldfinch, Carel Fabritius, 1654

We, too, sing behind locked doors, sweet bird.
Bound by restraints of fear, desire, the absurd.
We listen to operas, Broadway musicals, country western, jazz,
our deafening heartbeats, razzamatazz.
We open wide our patio doors to blast our fancy stereos,
to strum our guitars, to serenade our masked heroes.
We ask Alexa to drown out our loneliness, our unrest,
our entitled nonessentialness.

Tethered bird, we are appeased by sweet useless notes
that spin off to full pink moons and aligned planets.
Simple refrains of all for one—lean on me, come together,
rise up, sweet Caroline. Alleluia.
But it is the specters on empty streets and poisoned ships
we fear as much as touching our face, our lips.
It is a choked scream echoing across a backyard fence,
why we soap our hands and rinse.

Oh, feathered thing, keep vigil on your solitary throne,
feed us the seeds of a hopeful tune we can call our own.
For we are stumbling blindly into a craven new world,
with no elixir, no redeemer, no magic sword.
Give us this day, this week, this greening season of hush.
Show us how to bless it all without human touch.
For we are chastened by all we thought we knew,
by all we’ve lost, by all we cannot do.

Julia Meylor, of Groton, Connecticut, is a published poet and essayist, freelance editor, proofreader, and occasional babysitter. She retired in 2018 after working as a corporate communications manager, high school English teacher, and newspaper editor. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. She shares her poems, essays, and photography in her blog, Between Land and Sky, and she loves words almost as much as her grandchildren.