Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Monday, January 11, 2021


by Diane Elayne Dees

She said it without irony, then asked 
for my name and date of birth. 
She then directed me to the room
where I would wait for my turn 
to get the long-awaited needle stick
in my arm. As I sat, visions 
of pleasant young hospital staff 
members throughout the country
floated through my troubled mind:

My name is America,
and I’m going to get you infected with Covid.
My name is America,
and I’m going to turn my eyes 
when business owners 
and government leaders 
ignore rules that could save your life.
My name is America,
and I’m sick to death of quarantine.
My name is America,
and I can’t even get you a Covid test.
My name is America
and I’m looking out for illness
in the stock market.
My name is America,
and I’m going to wear my mask 
under my nose.

It took only a breath of a moment,
the life-saving prick of the needle;
I didn’t feel anything at all. 
In three weeks, I’ll return and do it again.
Maybe America will guide me
through the final stage of protection.
Maybe America will remember me, 
my face half-covered by a mask, 
but my eyes filled with grief and fear.

Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbook, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books). Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women's professional tennis throughout the world. Her author blog is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large.