Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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 09, 2022


by Martha Deed

When the six year-olds in Miss Rumsey's first grade class elected Truman
one girl was practically the only one voting for Dewey.  She was embarrassed
and outcast. Her parents could not be convinced to change their minds
and she grew suspicious of polls.  Her place in life improved only slightly
in '52 when everyone agreed on Eisenhower and in '56 she won a quarter
from her Presbyterian father when the General defeated Adlai Stevenson
despite her father's prediction Ike would die before Election Day.  He fortified
his flawed opinion with a coin. And so it goes. Each election more savage
than the last. Each more desperate.
Probably Goldwater wouldn't have dropped the bomb. 

But now the grown-up child knows what desperation really means
when you have to vote with Gunslingers who think Others are Crooks
and Scoundrels and maybe Immigrants or Black, Have No Souls,
and Want To Eat Babies. When she voted today (early voting to avoid the rush),
no one stood outside armed-to-the-teeth. The election workers looked
like librarians. They were soft-spoken and gave clear instructions
like her second grade teacher Miss White who taught her pupils
how to tie their shoes and zip up their snowsuits so she wouldn't
have to do it herself. The election workers are not allowed to do it themselves.
They say 
The ballots have two sides. Color your choices inside the lines.

Martha Deed's poetry has appeared in The New Verse News and most recently or forthcoming in Moss Trill, Mason Street, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Grand Little Things, The Skinny Poetry Journal. Her poetry collections Under the Rock (2019) and Climate Change (2014) and a third collection forthcoming from FootHills Publishing. She is a retired psychologist who makes trouble with poetry inspired by crises and other mishaps around her house on the Erie Canal in Western New York.