Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, May 03, 2020


by Fran Schumer

An empty FDR Drive in New York City was photographed on March 25, 2020. Credit: Phil Penman via The U.S. Sun

It was a beautiful fall, and we all remembered that it was because it was
such a terrible time. From the reservation near my house, you could see
where the towers stood. For days afterward, someone posted a sign:
Dear Jesus, Please bring Mr. Spinelli home.

This spring is beautiful, too; piles of pink on the streets of my deserted
suburb, the magnolia trees past their prime. I walk every day with my
husband, our new routine, and notice what I might have missed before, like
the hawks flying overhead, above the skyline where the buildings burned.

I see hyacinths and daffodils and creeping phlox, pale and soothing like the
blue the doctors wear or the coverlets on patients in the ventilators. We’ll
remember those patients, and how good it was not be one of them, to eat a
banana after weeks of canned pears, not to be the only person living in fear.

It’s not so bad when everyone is afraid of the same thing, though some
days you’re afraid of those other things too. On those days, especially,
it’s good to be distracted by the work it takes just to eat, to go out, and,
heaven forbid, risk it at the bike shop because one of your tires is flat
and you need to ride to see all this beauty, the expressway beneath you, so eerie
and empty of cars. In more normal times, the traffic could kill you.

Fran Schumer is the author of Powerplay (Simon and Schuster; NYT bestseller) and Most Likely to Succeed (Random House). Her work has appeared in various sections of The New York Times including Op Ed, Book Review and Sunday Magazine; also, Vogue, The Nation, The North American Review, and other publications. She is the winner of a Goodman Loan Grant Award for Fiction from the City University of New York. She lives and teaches in New Jersey.