Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, April 12, 2021


by Pepper Trail

Trying to appeal to your humanity after the actions you have taken, the words you have said, seems as futile an exercise as can be imagined, but still I would like to gather you in a room, let us say the sanctuary of a church, as I am sure you all consider yourselves Good Christians, and introduce you to my son and make you listen as he tells you how going through transition as a teenager saved his life, and have me tell you, no, it was not easy as a parent to understand and to know how best to help and how many talks we had and the tears that we shed and the love that was always in the room and the help and compassion that the doctors gave and what a delicate delicate thing is the soul of a young person going through such an experience and to say

How Dare You

impose your complete ignorance, your unknowing fear, your pathetic insecurity, your contemptible political calculations on these young people, the most vulnerable among us, and to tell you so that you cannot pretend not to know, that your law which makes compassion illegal, which outlaws informed medical care, will without doubt condemn transgender kids to death, will without doubt inflame hate and abuse of these gentle souls who harm no one, who are only seeking to heal themselves, to become whole, which is something that you, as long as you are disfigured by fear, ignorance, and merciless cruelty, can never be.

Pepper Trail is a poet and naturalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, Spillway, Kyoto Journal, Cascadia Review, and other publications, and has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards. His collection Cascade-Siskiyou was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.