Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, April 20, 2022


by Jaime Banks

A mother who scrawled contact details on her two-year-old daughter's back while fleeing Ukraine has described to the BBC her desperation in that moment. Sasha Makoviy said she wrote little Vira's name, age and some phone numbers on her, in case the family were separated or killed while fleeing Kyiv. "In case of our death, she could be found and would know who she is," Ms Makoviy explained. The family are now in France where they feel "surrounded with love and care". —BBC, April 12, 2022

Her Kyiv apartment shakes
from the bombing. A woman
draws her two-year old close,
with permanent pen
scrawls the name Vira 
her birth date
parent’s names
grandparents’ names
telephone numbers
on the child’s slender back,
her hand shaking. 
If something happens,
she slants to think,
may this child be delivered
into familiar arms.
Numbers inked on skin
once a sign of barbarity,
now a mother’s only prayer.

Jaime Banks writes about family, home, and spirituality in everyday experience. She was recently awarded first place prize in the Bethesda Local Writer’s Showcase Poetry Contest, and her work is featured in the anthology Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead. A communications specialist and freelance writer, she resides in the DC area.