Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, June 12, 2020


by Thomas J. Erickson

It’s confounding having a hearing while I’m sitting
in my living room. I have a pandemic beard
and unruly bangs and am wearing boxer shorts
while I position the camera just so to catch
my face and my coat and tie.

Within reach are framed photographs,
books I have loved on the bookcase,
my poetry journals.

My client is on video from the jail. A young
black guy wearing a white mask that gleams
out of the grain. The symbolism is so heavy
it makes me want to reach for my pen.

Thomas J. Erickson is an attorney in Milwaukee.  His fourth book, The Lawyer Chronicles, is forthcoming from Kelsay Press this fall.