Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, July 31, 2020


by Earl J Wilcox

5:43AM is a calm, almost cool
sunrise hour in June when we
arrive at the ER. My grand-
daughter has felt ill all night—
feverish, frightened, nauseated.
My son, her uncle, drives us
to a busy hospital where large
numbers of virus patients
are being tested and treated.

At this early hour, the parking
lot is almost bare. The ER
entrance is well-lit, peaceful,
almost as if waiting just for us.
We are fearful, on edge.
My old heart pounds, palms
sweat. Being calm is not my
strong suit this summer morning.
As I think about all I’ve heard
about COVID-19, I tremble.
But I am not the one sick today.

At the ER entrance, a cadre of kind
people smocked, masked, gloved,
shrouded beyond recognition with
friendly eyes, helpful gestures as
they greet us in plastic blue hues.
The ER quartet is efficient not
hurried—patient as my granddaughter
slowly exits our car, walks unsteadily
toward the first station of the triage.
She turns, waves, slowly fades into the ER.

Living in South Carolina, a virus hot spot, Earl Wilcox happily reports his family is still free of Covid-19.