Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, August 08, 2020


by Diane Elayne Dees

On my walks to the river, I pass
many American flags, and—
while I don’t like to judge—
I think I know what they stand for. 
In front of one house 
is a large Confederate flag,
and I’m sure I know what that stands for. 
Then, one day, I walk around the corner,
and am surprised and thrilled to see 
a huge rainbow flag in a neighbor’s yard.
The next day, an American flag is hung 
next to it. I wonder if the neighbor hung
the second flag as a means of protection;
I let my imagination run away with me. 
The following day, a third giant flag
appears next to the others—a flag
reminding me to vote for the two
most evil and incompetent men
I can recall having power in my lifetime.
Collective delusion has destroyed
cognitive dissonance. The red, white
and blue of democracy and the 
bright yellow and green and purple
of nature’s prism lift my spirits.
But now, every day, when I turn 
the corner, the colors of diversity
and freedom hurt my eyes,
trigger blood-red visions,
and intimate a sky so dark,

no rainbow can ever be visible.

Diane Elayne Dees's poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, and she has two chapbooks forthcoming. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women's professional tennis throughout the world.