Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


by Jennifer Freed

Source: MIT Medical

For our kitchen,
for the sourdough starter we learned to make
when the stores were still out of yeast,
for my husband,
who tends and feeds the starter for days, who kneads
the dough, shapes two round loaves, waits.
For the neat white bags of flour in our cabinet,
for the grocery store, its night-cleaners, their night hours
spraying disinfectant sprays.
For the cashiers in their comfortable shoes
and the blue-haired woman bagging our food,
her purple gloves, her back brace,
the peace signs on the mask across her face.
For the long-distance truck drivers driving
past closed restaurants, closed restrooms.
For the farm, the farmer, the wheat.
For the soil, its dark depths
of invisible lives,
and the sky, answering its thirst, charming it
with sun and moon and stars.
For that same sky rounding my own yard, lighting
my window, and my daughters at the table
doing their schoolwork on-line. For their breath.
For the air
scented with bread.
For the butter, the knife, the four plates rimmed in green.
And the two round loaves, now cooled, now     
on the cutting board, now ready
for our tongues,
our bodies,
our praise.

Jennifer Freed lives  in Massachusetts. Her poetry appears/is forthcoming in various journals, including Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, Worcester Review, and Zone 3. Her chapbook These Hands Still Holding (Finishing Line Press) was a finalist in the 2013 New Women’s Voices contest. She was awarded the 2020 Samuel Washington Allen Prize from the New England Poetry Club.