Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


by Sharon Olson

They call it the landscape of fear,
the sense that humans are near,
ears pricked to catch the menace
of car engines, commerce unabated.

So the deer were always nearby,
watching for safe spaces, as if
they might be able to read
the stickers on library doors.

The map has now been redrawn,
if the foxes can come out of hiding,
say the deer, then so can we,
nobody seems to be stopping us.

We are now hosting a family of deer,
our yard a new venue for outdoor dining,
our menu of specials features straight-up
hostas, day lilies, rosehips for dessert.

In dark of night, though, a new creature
has joined the neighborhood menagerie,
squirrels and mice beware, the fisher cat
pierces the silence with its strangling call.

Sharon Olson is a retired librarian who lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Her book The Long Night of Flying was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her second book Will There Be Music? was published by Cherry Grove Collections in 2019.