Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, September 24, 2020


by William Aarnes

Art by Clara Lieu

The guy who’s keyboarding these lines
wants to hope that the world would be better—  

more hospitable, less deadly—
if people agreed to do without guns.

But I’m the dread in his head, dwelling      
on how many guns are already loaded,

how many aimed, how many already fired,
piercing lead already in the wounded, in the dead,    

my thoughts having shot their way through    
his fingers on to his computer screen:

“Time to buy a gun or two?  Or stockpile
an arsenal?”  Sure, he’s already deleted

those thoughts. But I’m the dread in his head. 

William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.